Gluten Free/Paleo Friday ~ Christmas Prep & “Coffee” & Homecomings

 Christmas can kinda make you (or just me) crazy, it seems. Here’s evidence…

On Wednesday, I was frantically running around town doing errands and frantically running around the house trying to clean it and make Kory’s bed for his arrival home from his first semester at Baylor.  Somehow I got it in my head that his plane arrived in Boston at 5:30pm.  This was perfect, since we had tickets to a really special version of A Christmas Carol at 7:30pm in Concord, MA. We got on the road at about 3:45 after having to make two trips to the bank, since the teller forgot to give Robert back his driver’s license.  Kory texted about 30 minutes later: “On the ground in Boston!”

Boston is 80 miles from my house, and we had traveled only about 10 of those.

Robert had thought Kory’s pick up time was 3:45pm, and indeed it was ~ with a 30 minute delay due to snow in Boston.  I pulled up his itinerary, and 5:30 was not a time anywhere on the thing. So, Kory was right on time and I am crazy.  The poor kid had to wait in Boston for TWO AND A HALF HOURS before we arrived.  How’s that for a warm welcome home?

And I’m not even going to describe the traffic going out of Boston to Concord and how we missed the opening scene of the musical and how I was in tears over missing this long-planned-event and how everyone’s bladder was going to burst in the process and how we ate dinner at Denny’s at 11pm and got home at 1:30am.

Hordes and hordes of these

 Last night we planned a family shopping trip to the “big” mall half an hour from our house.  We knew we wouldn’t make it home in time for dinner, since the trip had to be after Cooper’s driving hours scheduled with his Driver’s Ed school that day.  We all had a great time, got most of our gifts purchased, and had a fun Mexican food dinner out.  Watched a movie when we got home while some of us took turns upstairs wrapping gifts. (Not me, though.  NONE of my gifts are wrapped, and only about half of them are purchased. Sigh…)

This morning I realized that while we were out having fun and accomplishing tasks we also missed Kayla’s final gymnastics class before the holidays, which she also missed last week due to being sick, which we also paid quite a lot of money for this semester.

I am losing my mind.

Gingerbread house-making supplies

 But it’s okay.  The Lord is teaching me to trust Him and not myself, and showing me that despite my failing at my to-do lists and obligations, HE is accomplishing things, and we’re having Christmas just like we always do.

There was a tea party ~ or “cupcake and cappuccino” party as we called it this year ~ for Kayla and friends, complete with a French theme. (And yes, I know that cappuccino is not really French.)  And it was complete with all the usual gingerbread-house-making, treat-eating, and craft-for-mom-creating.

Ready to be decorated by Kayla’s guests!

Madeline HAD to make an appearance at our France-inspired Christmas Tea Party

 We even managed a family cookie baking night for the 3rd Sunday in Advent.  Dad, Cooper, and Kayla ALL got in on the action, and while that is a bit stressful for me (I like to be in control of outcomes in the kitchen), it was nice to all be working together and listening to Dean Martin, Amy Grant, and Karen Carpenter sing our favorite Christmas tunes.

One of my favorite Susan Brach Cookbooks ~ opens to this page automatically!

 There was an eye doctor appointment which led to shopping for a new winter coat which led to Christmas shopping for siblings (and self!) and then a lunch at Whole Foods with Cooper, who is quite entertaining to be with at all times, except for when he texts people from my phone and says questionable things without making the true author of the text known. He’s a laugh a minute, that guy.

Did I mention it was an intense snowstorm and snow day for most while Cooper and I were shopping?
This is the front of Whole Foods right as the snow started.

 More cookies were made in anticipation of my dad’s arrival Monday, and for dinner guests on Christmas Eve. ALL cookies are snug in the freezer, and I stationed an armed guard in the basement to protect them from pre-Christmas thieves.  Well, not really, but “out of sight” has so far resulted in “out of mind.”

 And while I don’t really have time for trying new recipes, let alone creating them, I have been sipping on a new form of “coffee” that was inspired by a recipe my friend Karla posted on Facebook, as well as a recipe my chiropractor sent out to patients for tea.

It’s delicious, and I look forward to a cup every afternoon if I am home and can spare a few moments to prepare it.  I haven’t had coffee since the beginning of October when I read about its cross-reactant properties with gluten, and I can tell a huge difference with digestion/tummy issues. Here’s the recipe:

Coconut Milk “Coffee”

1 1/2 cup coconut milk/almond milk
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom (I LOVE cardamom!)
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp grass fed butter

1 tsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp honey
In a small saucepan heat milk and add spices, butter, coconut oil, vanilla and honey. After about 5 minutes of heating make sure butter and oil are melted and then blend in a blender for 15-20 seconds until frothy. (Be very careful blending this hot mixture, though.  Hold on to the lid of the blender!)
It’s sort of like drinking chai minus the tea, but you could certainly steep some tea in this if you desire.  I think it is delicious, and a delightful coffee replacement.
Here’s a photo of the homecoming.  This was taken at about 10:30pm on Wednesday night AFTER the musical and BEFORE a late night Denny’s meal.  Aren’t they cute?  It’s so nice to have everyone home together for Christmas!

I hope you are not feeling as crazy I am right now.  Still so much to do here. Now, I’m off to shower and then head out to buy LOTS of groceries, ribbon, gift tags, gift cards, and a few remaining gifts.  We did manage to get our 250 Christmas cards in the mail early this morning on the way to the gym. Whew!

Here’s what I’m trying to keep in my heart and mind as I go about the dizzying list of tasks.  It’s what Scrooge said, or actually what he prayed, down on his knees, in Wednesday night’s beautiful performance, (based on Charles Dickens’ own spiritual transformation) when he finally understood what God was trying to reveal to Him all along…

How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessing of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray.
Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels, the great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord, Emmanuel.

Yes, descend to me, abide with me, enter in to my world of sin and chaos,  keeping my heart meek, soft, and open to You being WITH me, as I forge ahead in my own strength all too often to “do” Christmas.

I pray you are also able to experience His nearness despite the frantic pace, and will have a very merry weekend-before Christmas!

Highlights In Heaviness & Girly, Giggling Grace

A month and a half almost since I’ve written here. Nothing totally tragic. No severe suffering. All are healthy and happy for the most part.  Life is still hard, though ~ isn’t it? I don’t know if I’ve ever felt its heaviness, its burdens, and its challenges like I do right now.  Oh, I know I’ve said that before, but today it’s true again. Despairing news, an impossible pace, accusations, expectations and other “do-not-be-surprised-fiery-ordeals.” And like I said, we’re all fairly happy and healthy here, so I’m sure… no, I KNOW heavier future burdens await.
His grace is sufficient. His grace sustains. 
(sustains ~ that’s been my word for the summer/fall.)
And His sustaining grace is what I choose to focus on today.  The grace of a group of girls that came together to commit to study that grace in the form of biblical doctrine (of all things!) this semester. We called it “Women’s Boot Camp.”  I still like the term “girls,” though. Maybe because of the giggling. There was no giggling in the “Men’s Boot Camp” going on upstairs at church on Wednesday nights.
We went out to eat here last night to celebrate. Dressing up was suggested. (Girls!) 
Yummy hamburgers (with GF buns! a Paleo cheat!)

We covered seven doctrines this semester using the book Doctrine by Bershears and Driscoll 
1. Trinity
2. Revelation (the Word)
3. Creation
4. Image
5. Fall
6. Covenant
7. Incarnation
Think about that order. Just think about it. 
Grace. Beautiful grace.
And “Incarnation” right before everyone heads home for Christmas?  Wow.
Candy cane silliness

More giggling…

 There were questions about inspiration ~ “Even the Psalms? But those are prayers by humans,” young and old earth theories, gender roles, open and closed hand issues, spiritual gifts, whether God favors some over others, and even… love vs. lust, marriage, plastic surgery (girls…), and more.

And there were stories…of salvation, of family issues, of struggles with sin, of past pains, of missions, of sharing faith with friends and family and strangers, of new love, of future aspirations…and even of a deep, serious aversion to human feet (and now having to wash those as a JOB), and of dropping your student ID in the toilet…and retrieving it…while sitting on it….after having USED it…fearing the possibility of an automated flush.

LOTS of giggling, I tell ya.

 Two were brand new believers ~ vibrant, inquisitive, hungry, joyful.

“Write out and give my testimony?  What’s a testimony?” 

Others were in various stages of growth in Christ and craving more.

They paid fines for being late, not doing homework, and missing group time.  They took weekly quizzes. Yes, QUIZZES ~ on the specifics, the details, and the implications of each doctrine. Some even got VERY EXCITED about strategically studying for and taking the weekly quizzes.

 One of them was baptized, and I GOT TO HELP.

So, so fun.

Have I told you that this beautiful one is also our newest daughter? I always wanted four.
Another has asked for a near future coffee date to discuss her own baptism, and I can hardly wait.
Most are planning to continue next semester ~ looking at more doctrines of the faith, with the understanding that they will have teaching and facilitating roles for the new ones who may join us in the spring.
“…entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (II Timothy 2:2)
Faithful women and girls certainly fall into that general category.

Such a privilege. Such a joy.  Such a highlight in the heaviness.

Such giggly grace.

Gluten Free/Paleo Friday ~ Crackers!

I’ve definitely cheated a few times, because crackers and chips are some of the things I miss most in following this high protein, high fruit and veggie diet. Some days, before switching to a no-grains-no-legumes diet, I was subsisting on rice crackers and hummus. Crunchy and savory in the same food item is hard to come by in the paleo lifestyle, but is one of my favorite food combos.  I found this very simple recipe on the “Caveman Food” blog, but doubled it and added a couple of other ingredients ~ sesame seeds and poppy seeds.  I suppose you could add any seed-like thing ~ flax, chia, etc.  I added coconut oil as well, because it’s so yummy and good for you, and also adds a bit of “liquid” to the mixture when you add extra seeds and such.
This is the extent of the counter space in my kitchen. Amazing what can be accomplished with
only about two square feet! (maybe not even that much!?!)
The only semi-difficult part of the recipe is rolling out the dough.  It should be very, very thin, and parchment paper is a necessity. The dough holds together pretty well, though ~ much better than say, a regular gluten free pie crust or cookie dough.
See the almost empty jar of apple butter?  I served the freshly baked crackers to the family with a side of apple butter for spreading one Friday evening.  Both were gobbled up immediately.  Good sign.

If the edges brown quickly, then remove those and continue baking the rest, because a chewy cracker is just not going to solve the hankering for something crunchy!

Paleo Crackers

2 cups almond meal/flour
2 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 egg whites, room temp is helpful
2 tsp coconut oil

Stir dry ingredients together. Add egg whites and coconut oil and mix thoroughly.  Divide dough in half and pat out one batch on parchment paper in a rectangle shape and then use a rolling pin to get the dough as thin as possible striving for the size of a standard-sized cookie sheet. (14″x17″ for example) I precut my parchment paper to match the size of my cookie sheet, so that when I was rolling it out on my counter I would know how far to go.  I also covered the top of the dough with parchment paper to keep the rolling pin from sticking to the dough.  After rolling out, remove the top piece of parchment, and then transfer the rolled out dough to the cookie sheet, leaving the bottom piece of parchment. Run a knife through the dough to cut even squares or rectangles BEFORE baking. I went for the “Wheat Thin” size. 🙂  Bake at 325 degrees for 10-20 minutes checking for browned edges. Remove crackers as they brown slightly. Cool and serve with apple butter!  Or alongside a soup, salad, or your favorite gluten-free-paleo dip. (Repeat with second half of the batter!)

P.S.  You can also skip the seeds and add cinnamon or pumpkin pie spices and a bit of honey for a sweet version of these.  They can even be made into a breakfast cereal that way! I would cut them even smaller for the cereal version.

Gluten Free/Paleo Friday ~ T-Bone Texas & Chicken Sicily (and bats!)

Hanging out at Common Grounds coffee shop.

 There’s a recipe at the end of this post, I promise.  A good one, too, if you happen to like olives and all-things-Mediterranean. It’s just that I also wanted to post photos from our trip to Texas last weekend, since I haven’t found the time to write all week.  We definitely hit the ground running once we returned on Monday evening, and now I’ve got a really nasty cold and cough, probably due in part to lack of sleep, nutrition, and a really long to-do list.  Woe is me.

Sitting in my new chairs with my feet propped up on the matching ottoman, drinking tea that my sweet friend Karla dropped off (which is a sure cure for this yuckiness!), and catching up on email and blogging is my form of rest today. Well, at least for a few hours.  Next up will be a trip to the grocery store for Cross Country team snacks and weekend food.

Kory and Sean enjoy their fajitas, queso, and MORE at Chuy’s.
It was great to be in Texas!  We got to hang out with Kory at his dorm and favorite coffee shop, as well as take him and a friend out for fajitas.  Actually, it was my dad who took us all out for Mexican, as he was in town seeing some of his customers.  Worked out perfectly, and then we treated to FroYo after dinner, where Kory seemed to know everyone in the place.  Even his English professor was there!
Then, since Kory didn’t have class on Friday due to Fall Break, we were able to take him to the Austin area for the weekend.  We had coffee at Mozart’s on Lake Austin, dinner at Whole Foods downtown, and then did something that NONE of us Texans and Austinites had ever done…

…watch the 1.5 million Mexican Free-Talied bats fly out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk. We opted for the riverboat cruise which was only $10 ~ bring your own food and drink ~ and eventually ended up directly under the bridge for a really spectacular view!  Interestingly, these are all female bats who give birth (they can actually decide WHEN to give birth. How convenient!) in June or July, nursing their pups until October when they head south again. The males hang out in local trees and caves, etc.  Pretty amazing sight, and one of Austin’s main, among many, tourist attractions
A little bit of a tour before the bat viewing.  Great views and stories about the Austin skyline!

Saturday was a day of football and outlet mall shopping.  The men were pretty glued to the big UT vs. OU game ~ especially since Texas pulled off a win, and then there was the nail-biter Baylor game.  They finally got the win as well.  My dad cooked the poor college boy a T-bone on the grill to celebrate!

My sister, Melinda, and I went to the outlet mall, which is dangerously close to my dad’s house, in search of earrings and a necklace to wear to my high school reunion. She was (and usually is) my fashion consultant for the weekend.  I had brought a few options to wear, but then took a cruise through her closet finding even MORE options.  Funny thing is, the one dress in her closet  I was most interested in, is the one she ended up suggesting after seeing my dismal options from home.  Melinda to the fashion rescue again!  Thanks, sis.

Dorian, Tamara, LeeAnn, Me, and Kerry ~ who came from California!
The reunion was not as well attended as I had hoped, but definitely included some of my most favorite and dear friends.  It was also really LOUD, as it was held in a dance hall, and we didn’t have a separate room for our event.  We were all yelling at each other all night.  My ears and throat were killing me the next day!  Still, I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with a few folks in person, and not via Facebook! And I learned once again that Facebook is not always a reliable source of what is really going on in a person’s life. (Sort of a no-brainer, I guess.) Some had married and divorced recently, and I had no idea.  The stories were heartbreaking, but I was so glad to know how to pray better for those who have been through such difficult things.
Dear friends Wes and Delisa.  Wes was our newspaper editor and I was the assistant.
He was one friend I knew was a believer, and we connected over Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith music.
We also connected over late nights at the press using exact knives and light boards ~
no computers back them ~ and skipping school to take in a UT baseball game.
Official sports news business, of course.

And now for the totally unrelated recipe of the week…

If I could travel anywhere in the world at this very moment, it would involve a cruise on the Mediterranean Sea, stopping in Greece, Turkey, and Sicily, etc. Partly due to its rich history and biblical geography, and partly due to its FOOD. (I realize that that may be too many miles to cover in one cruise, but still…)
Though my family is not big on olives, I still decided to give this Sicilian-style chicken dish a try.  I had seen something similar in Eating Well, and modified the ingredients, based mostly on what I had in my pantry.

Chicken Sicily

2 medium tomatoes (or 4 plum tomatoes)
1 reg. bag baby spinach
1/3 cup halved green olives
1/3 cup halved kalamata olives
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 purple onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 chicken breasts ( I cut mine in halves or thirds)
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add chicken, browning on each side 3-5 minutes.  Cover and cook on medium-low for another 15 minutes.  Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm.

Add 2 more Tbsp olive oil to the skillet and sauté onion first. After a few minutes, add garlic and olives.  Add tomatoes and spinach last, cooking until just wilted.

Serve chicken breasts with a heaping spoonful of the olive/spinach/tomato mixture on top.

I think the non-paleo side dish was rice (for the kids) and we all ate butternut squash along with this dish, too. The olives were a bit bold for the kids, and when I asked Robert if he liked the topping, his reply was, “I’m no longer eating for enjoyment, but rather for nutrition.”  While not exactly a compliment, I’m happy he’ll at least eat things he knows are beneficial. Ha!

So, there you have it ~ from Texas T-Bones and fajitas, bat flights and old friends, to eating olives and chicken together against the wishes of my crew.  Pretty sure I won’t be winning blogger of the year or gaining any readership over these non-specific posts. Oh well.  It satisfies the archivist in me, and keeps me connected to the few of you who love me and care about the minutia of my life.  Thanks, friends!

Gluten Free/Paleo Friday ~ Exporting Apple Butter

The wonderful thing was that it was a gorgeous day in Massachusetts for apple picking, which is a New England tradition I don’t think we’ve ever missed in our 14 years here ~ warm, sunny, and perfect for seeing the changing colors in the trees.  The sad things were that we were dong it without Kory for the first time, and it had to be tightly squeezed in between many other obligations that day.  Why is life always so hectic?

We found a new orchard to try this year and much closer to our house.  I discovered it while making numerous trips back and forth to Hampshire College for a big cross country meet that our Amherst team was hosting for runners all over the region the weekend before.

There were still multitudes of apples by the time we got there, and lots of folks showed up to pick on that beautiful day.  Funny…even hordes of college students try and make time for apple picking, and sometimes those from out of town or state have never taken part in this quintessential New England activity.  It’s fun to see them so giddy over apples.  Fun to see my own teens enjoy this activity we’ve been doing since they were so small, too…

On our way home, we made time for a quick trip to our favorite ice cream spot complete with gluten free cones ~ Flayvors, which is also a local dairy farm. Picked up a pumpkin while we were there ~ time to change the summer wreaths to fall ones and decorate the front porch.  Decorating is another one of those things which gets squeezed in, if done at all, but I really enjoy it.
The Krumrey Apple Family

Back at home the activities began full force, and the apples sat in the mudroom for two or three days before I could even think about them.  Well, several were eaten straight out of the bag, but we had picked a whole bushel, so the rest of them needed to be dealt with.  We did make applesauce to go with our dinner that evening, and then I did a bit of research on how to make a non-sugar apple butter.

Apple sauce and apple butter are really so easy to make.  I opted for a slow cooker version of apple butter, and my crock pot has basically been on all week cooking batch after batch of apple butter.
You start by washing, slicing, and coring 10-14 apples depending on their size.  Don’t peel them; just slice out the seeds and core.
Add apple cider, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove to the apple slices and cider and stir.
After a few hours it will look like apple sauce, but it still needs to cook more!
It should cook for 12-16 hours and be stirred occasionally.  At the end of the cooking process, it should be fairly thick.  At this point, I added more of each of the spices and about a tablespoon of honey or agave and some vanilla.  After this cooked a few minutes, I blended the apple mixture thoroughly in my VitaMix, and returned it to the crock pot uncovered while I prepared the jars for canning.
I didn’t take pictures of the canning process, but you need sterilized jars, lids, and rings, and a large pot with a rack in the bottom.  The pot needs to be deep enough to allow for an inch or more of water above the jar lids once they are place in the pot.  Pour hot apple butter into hot jars, seal and place in a pot of boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Next, remove the jars with tongs and place on a cup towel to cool.  You will hear each lid “pop” indicating that the airtight seal has happened.
All of this apple-butter-making was done around church, sleep, meals, homeschool, Classical Conversations, exercise, many coffee and dinner appointments, chauffeuring teenagers various places, Bible studies, and preparing for a trip to Texas for my 25th high school reunion.  If it happens to cook for 18 hours instead of 12, it’s really not that big of a deal, and probably results in a thicker, sweeter butter anyway!  I had to let mine keep cooking several times due to busy-ness.
Kayla and I made a quick trip to Michael’s for some labels and ribbon while we were out running errands after Classical Conversations on Tuesday ~ after dropping Cooper off for his cross country meet, and before returning to try and see him cross the finish line.  We didn’t make it in time.
We had dinner with a new church planting intern couple that night, and I loved being able to take them a jar of apple butter.  Even though both grew up in Massachusetts, neither had ever tasted apple butter. (But I heard they liked it!)
I also loved carefully wrapping up a jar to bring to my dad here in Texas. (That’s where I’m writing from today!) He will appreciate having something homemade and exported from New England, and he loves using various jams and jellies on toast in the morning.  We’re heading to his house later today and to my reunion later this weekend.
But we also saw him last night.  He happened to be calling on customers in the Waco area, and was able to meet up with us for a Mexican food dinner at none other than Chuy’s.  Robert and I arrived in Waco around 3pm just in time for Kory to be finished with class for the day.  We enjoyed sitting in the dorm living room and meeting each person who came through the doors ~ all incredibly nice, polite young men.  After that, we walked a couple of blocks to a favorite coffee shop and enjoyed our drinks on the back porch and patio area.  It was warm and sunny, so don’t be fooled by Kory’s sweatshirt.  He claims it was “cool” that morning, but this is Texas, and so it didn’t stay that way for long!

We are looking forward to more time with him today in Austin, as the school has the day off for Fall Break, and then watching him play baseball back here in Waco on Sunday afternoon. On Saturday night, Robert and I will be at my reunion catching up with some dear old friends of mine from high school.  Can’t wait!

Here’s the apple butter recipe which works just as well with store bought apples, but the New England orchard version is one you should definitely put on your bucket list!

No-Sugar Apple Butter

10-14 apples, sliced and cored, but NOT peeled.
3 tsp cinnamon (divided)
1 tsp nutmeg (divided)
1/2 tsp cloves (divided)
1 cup apple cider (juice will work, too)
1 Tbsp honey/agave
1 tsp vanilla

Cook apples, cider, and half of spices in a slow cooker on low for 12-16 hours, stirring occasionally. Blend mixture at the end of cooking process and return to slow cooker for another 30 minutes or so adding the second half of the spices, honey/agave, and vanilla. You can blend the mixture again at this point for an extra smooth butter. You can also play with the amounts of spices here. I like more cinnamon and less clove, but adding more or less will not hurt anything!

Then, simply fill 3-4 small jars ~ half pint sized or larger, and store them in the refrigerator, or you can “can” them for longer, non-refreigerated storage.  I’ve described the “canning” process above, but there are many other resources out there for specific canning instructions, which you do have to take some care with!

Ok ~ off to shower after our morning run and breakfast in a cute local cafe ~ and on to spend some more time with our Baylor Boy in one of our favorite places ~ Austin, TX!  Have a great Columbus Day Weekend!

The Socially Awkward Homeschool Graduate

It was Saturday night that we were sitting at our kitchen table, chatting, and listening to the Baylor vs. West Virginia game online. The teen s’mores & pizza party was over and cleaned up from the night before, a baby registry for my friend Christie  had been accomplished earlier in the day, and I was working on a grocery list and my Francis Schaeffer worldview homework simultaneously.  Robert had already put in a full day at the NewComers Class at church and then polished and preached the Sunday sermon in his basement office.  It’s always very fiery in the basement, and I could hear most of it from the kitchen where I worked.

Anyway, we have all of a sudden become radical Baylor Bear fans, resorting to listening to the games live or watching a simulated, play by play version on  Yes, we actually “watched” a couple of games this way, since we can’t get the games on TV. Who are we?  We didn’t even realize until after the fact that our own alma mater ~ The University of Texas ~ had played their game on Thursday.  Not that we would have watched, but still, it’s Baylor that’s on our mind all of the time, making us do crazy, out of the ordinary things to keep abreast of the world in which our firstborn now lives.

Baylor was just killing their poor opponents right off the bat ~ or right out of the huddle, I should say, and so I texted Kory.

“Whoa.  What a game!  Are you there?” I messaged.

I now know that that is a silly question.  Big 12 sports was definitely on the list of Baylor perks when he was considering a school.  He doesn’t miss a game. (And I now know what “Big 12 Sports” even means.  But I’m pretty sure the 12 really means 10, so I’m still a bit confused.)

He messaged back and said he was on the front row and that I should check out Baylor’s Instagram page.  I’m new to Instagram and iPhone, but I’m really enjoying the whole new i-world, so I clicked over to begin “following.”

This is what I discovered:

To be honest, I didn’t even recognize Kory right away.  But it was him all right.  Front and center, 50-yard line, screaming his lungs out ~ you know, my socially awkward homeschooler, ill-prepared for the life outside of our house, sheltered, and unable to function in the real world. 
Or maybe not.
Funny thing is, I STILL get the questions, “What about socialization?”, “Do your children have friends?”  Somewhat recently, I even had lunch with a woman who was quite defensive about her choice to put her children in public school when she learned that I homeschooled. “We don’t want to shelter our children from people of other religions or backgrounds or experiences.  We CHOSE NOT to homeschool, because we wanted our kids to learn to interact with people of all backgrounds and experiences, so that they will be prepared for those interactions in the real world,” she somewhat harshly scolded.
I’m sorry she feels that the public school system is the only place kids can learn how to accept and interact with people who are different from them. My kids have learned those things by being active members of a church, playing on sports teams, visiting nursing homes, helping out in homeless shelters, hosting all sorts of people from all over the world in our home, babysitting, attending summer camp, going on mission trips, and traveling in general.  In my opinion, the public school exposure to a diversity of people is limited in comparison. In fact, it is interesting to me that the church has been the main place my kids have learned about the harsh realities of people’s lives ~ their rebellion, their deep struggles, their sufferings, their weaknesses, their differing opinions, and also their great value and worth.
Now I know that some would argue that Baylor by no means offers a “real-world” experience, but I would beg to differ (after a bit of novice detective work on Instagram and Facebook…and a visit there, of course), and it makes this homeschool mama very proud that Kory has been able to navigate well the various situations he’s encountered ~ rooming with an international non-believer, discerning true faith among “Christian” friends, having great, encouraging, conversations with professors after class and during office hours, and shopping for groceries and computer software, too!
And I’m not taking credit for teaching him these things.  Yes, I depended on the Lord daily for wisdom in nurturing my kids and educating them and providing experiences from which they could learn and grow, but I can clearly see that it was and is the Lord who accomplishes the non-socially-awkwardness, and the positive, mature, eagerness instead.
And joy, too!  This kid is joyful and “all there” in all that he does ~ even if that means donning the gold jersey and leading out in the cheers for his new favorite team ~ and he was a DIE. HARD. LONGHORN. FAN. Y’ALL.  Cheering for the Bears took a bit of adjusting, but if you pay close attention at 48 seconds in the video below, you’ll see that he made the adjustment quite nicely:

On Sunday afternoon, we got another text message telling us to watch this “Behind-the Scenes” video on the Baylor Athletic FB page.  It wasn’t difficult to pick him out, and we laughed and laughed at his new “poster boy” status.

Now, he may be horrified that I’ve written this post.  Pretty sure he tries to keep the whole “homeschool” thing on the down-low, but even that is partially due to the silly stereotype he knows exists.  Pretty sure he tries to keep the whole “pastor’s kid” thing in the same category and for the same reason.

Really, it’s not about public school or homeschool or private school, though I have loved being able to “shelter” my kids from unnecessary and too-early exposure to sexual and other mature issues.  It’s more about nurture and love and faithfulness and obedience, and quality time, and dinner discussions… but mostly it’s about grace.  Growing in grace as a parent and growth by grace as a child.  And lots of prayers of desperation and crying out for that grace to be given in abundance on a daily basis.

Thanking the Grace-Giver today for a weekend of reassurance and joy!

Gluten Free/Paleo Friday ~ Mushroom Spores & Meatball Soup (Coffee Concerns, too.)

Before I tell you about our mushroom outing and observation, and about a meatball soup we tried this week, I just have to share a recent discovery about the connection between Celiac Disease and coffee.  I found a message in my Facebook inbox today from a friend who figured I already knew it, but thought she’d share the information just in case.  Well, I didn’t already know, and I found the article she sent very interesting…and quite sad for coffee lovers with Celiac Disease.  It turns out that coffee is a very common “cross-reactive compound” for those who have gluten sensitivities.  Dairy is the most common cross-reactive, but coffee produces the most severe reaction.  Here are the articles I read:
It’s interesting to me, because many times I’ve had an aversion to coffee due to a severe reaction I had after drinking it, but I love coffee!  I don’t drink it in the mornings; I drink tea. But I really, really enjoy having a cup in the afternoon, after a Sunday lunch, or a daily 3pm iced coffee when it’s warm outside. So NOT wanting it for days at a time means that my stomach just really does not feel up for this “treat.”  I often wondered why this was happening.  I thought maybe it was the combo of something I ate and the coffee, but now I wonder if this new science and understanding has uncovered the reason for problems I was encountering.
Hmmmm….but it has to do with processing the coffee, and for some reason, organic, whole bean coffee does not trigger as severe a response.
My grocery bill is already so crazy, I doubt I will be buying organic coffee anytime soon.
Is it a slime mold?  Is it some sort of flat shelf fungus?

 Well, enough about coffee, and on to mushrooms.  This week my Challenge II class got to go on another outdoor excursion to collect mushrooms. After a quick picnic lunch on Cushman Common, we hit the Robert Frost Trail and found all SORTS of interesting fungi!

Jesse is quite the kinesthetic learner.  Gross.

Jesse tricked me into touching this white-fungus-ricotta-cheese-like substance growing on different parts of this tree.  I screamed and jumped upon touching it lightly with my pinky finger. It was creamy and cold and disgusting, but he managed to pack some into his ziploc bag with. his. hands. (and fling it all over his pants), so that we could observe it under the microscope back in class.  Somehow it did not occur to him to use a stick or leaf as tools of collection.

Six of the nine mushroom hunters.

They love being outside.  It was hard to rein them in, as they kept traveling farther and farther into the woods and along the trail, but we had important pastries and drinks to purchase at the Cushman Market and Cafe before we headed back to class, so back toward the trail head we went.  First item on the cafe agenda: WASH. YOUR. HANDS.

Back in class, everyone got to create their own slide of spores from their personal collection of mushrooms.  It was difficult to decide which ones to choose, and a few made time to make two slides, but everyone eventually got their spores in focus, and they all looked a bit different.  Sketches were made, and lab procedures and supplies were noted. Now they are spending the week at home writing up a formal lab report on this “experiment” among a multitude of other assignments. Mushrooms and molds and fungi are nature’s important decomposers.  Together we marveled at God’s wise handiwork. He thought of everything, of course!
Pretty cute ~ and sharp ~ kiddos on a beautiful fall afternoon.

No, I did not bring home any mushrooms for the purpose of adding them to my Turkey Meatball Soup.  In fact, I even had trouble gearing myself up just to think about cooking dinner after dealing with fungi all day, but I pressed on to patting mini-meatballs together for a soup idea I came across in a magazine recently.  It wasn’t a paleo magazine or a dedicated gluten free one, but the recipe just naturally happened to be both.

The most tedious part is forming the meatballs, of course, but they cook fairly quickly.  I loved using fresh parsley as a tasty herb for these.
It’s a sort of a tomato soup stock that the mushrooms meatballs eventually go into.  Roasting tomatoes and onions together before pureeing them into the chicken broth made the house smell delicious!
And the finished product was enjoyed by all ~ along with GF corn muffins for the teenagers and paleo blueberry muffins for the grown-ups. Perfect fall dinner!
Here’s the recipe ~ enjoy!
Roasted Tomatoes and Turkey Meatball Soup
4-5 large tomatoes (or 6-8 Romas, etc.)
2 medium white or yellow onions
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 lbs ground turkey
sea salt
4 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
8 cups chicken broth or 4 cups plus 4 cups water
Coarsely chop tomatoes and onions.  Toss lightly with olive oil and spread on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until tender and slightly browned/charred.  
Mix parsley, and salt and pepper to taste into the ground turkey.  Form mixture into mini meatballs and place on another baking sheet.  You will probably need two baking sheets for this.  Bake meatballs at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Heat broth and add roasted tomatoes and onions to it. Puree in batches in a blender and return to soup pot.  Continue to heat pureed soup over medium heat and add meatballs to the soup base once they are cooked through.  Keep over medium heat for 10 more minutes, and then serve.
P.S.  This would be great with ground beef or bison, too.  You would probably want to switch to beef broth in that case, though!

Pondwater, Polynomials, Philosophic Discussions, and Pizza

This week marks the halfway point in our Classical Conversations Challenge II semester, and I can hardly believe it.  This is my second time to tutor this level, and I really enjoy the hands-on nature of the curriculum ~ even though biology and algebra II are a challenge for me.  Actually, the entire curriculum is quite challenging for me and for the students.  There are seven seminars in the course of the day including:
  • Latin II (I hired out for this seminar this year.  Latin I is all I could manage and stay sane and feed my family regular meals.)
  • Algebra II
  • Biology
  • Western Cultural History (art, music, and Francis Schaeffer’s How Should We Then Live?)
  • British Literature
  • Logic
  • Debate

Biology seems to be the favorite seminar of most of the students.  We perform experiments in class almost every week using microscopes.  Our recent lab was to culture pond water samples over the course of the week that were fed egg yolk, rice, soil, and hay.  It was very exciting to watch bacterium propel itself around under the microscope, and find various types in the various water samples.  It was not so exciting to SMELL those samples every time I opened my coat closet with its warm, dimly lit atmosphere!

This week we’ll be headed back to the same pond area and hiking on the Robert Frost trail in order to find various kinds of mushrooms and and other fungi.  We’ll return to the classroom to observe spores and gills, etc, but not before eating a picnic (and wild mushroom free!) lunch together and stopping in at a local bakery-cafe at the trail head for a pastry and drink.  It’s nice that biology gets us out of the classroom so often, because classroom time can be really intense…

…as in the photo above where everyone is taking a test on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which was our second novel or epic poem to read.  Beowulf was first, and BOTH are such great stories.  The kids are a bit tired of Old English, though, because after those two poems we read The Knight’s Tale from Canterbury Tales. Oh well, now we’re on to Pilgrim’s Progress and Gulliver’s Travels, exploring the genres of allegory and satire.  I really love this reading selection.  Next up will be Jane Eyre, Alice in Wonderland, Pride and Prejudice and MORE!  They read about one novel a week, and write an essay on each one.
Cooper demonstrating multiplication and division of polynomials with his $1 nerd glasses from Target.
I think he’s jealous of my new specs!
Though we’ve only practiced this once, Francis Schaeffer’s worldview course provides great material for a Socratic Circle.  Below, the students were given a topic/chapter and then left on their own to explore the ideas Schaeffer’s writing put forth, namely the shift in worldview that can be detected in much Renaissance artwork.  I was really proud that they so easily carried on the discussion for MANY more than the ten minutes I gave them as a goal for keeping the discussion going.  Sharp kids, I tell ya!
Socratic Circle
Our first debate was two weeks ago.  The resolution was that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) should be abolished.  They all read a book called State of the Arts this summer which encourages Christians to participate in and appreciate the arts, but also helps give a godly, biblical standard for discerning what art is worthy of our appreciation. 
Panel of Judges.  Look at those stern faces!

Cooper’s team was arguing for the affirmative, and so tried to give compelling evidence as to why this organization is not worthy of taxpayer money.  They focused on the fact that the organization often gets used as a political tool as it did recently when it was urged to promote ObamaCare in some way. They did a wonderful job in front of an audience of parents and siblings as well as a panel of tough judges!

Cross Examination by Sara
The opposing team also did a great job in naming the merits of the NEA, and breaking down the facts about how much of our tax money actually goes to the organization.  Their argument was for reform and more judicial funding. The affirmative team won, but just by the skin of their teeth.  If fact, one judge chose the negative team as the overall winner.  Everyone learned, though, that you can not do enough research, fact-gathering, and THINKING in order to get a big picture understanding of the overall issue and argument!

That was one intense day for Cooper to be sure.  We had to fly out of the classroom door directly after the debate to get him to a Cross Country meet out-of-town.  Afterward, he was totally exhausted from research, workouts, anxiety, and the pressure of performing.  He did a great job with both though.  I was really proud of him!

Go Coop!

Making sure two kids are prepped for their Challenge courses on Tuesdays, and getting myself ready to teach make for fast, intense, crazy weeks, but I am so thankful for this opportunity, and totally sold on this curriculum.  Thankful, too, for the friendships it allows.  Several of the families have opened their homes for debate meetings or simply a pizza and movie night, and that has been so wonderful!  We’re taking a turn this week by having Coop’s class over for pizza, s’mores, games and maybe a movie.  Hoping for a nice fall evening and lots of great fellowship!

Now… essays are graded, progress reports completed, and now I’m off to study my logic book…and buy groceries for the week!

Gluten Free Friday ~ Prada and Paleo in NYC

This experience and post should definitely be filed under “things you never thought you would do,” because spending three days in NYC for the purpose of going to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week is most certainly a thing I never thought I would do.  Actually, I’m not sure I even knew the event existed, so it would have been impossible for me to even imagine such a thing, but I love NYC (not as much as Boston, but still…), and a friend from church was in need of a traveling companion, so I decided to go.

My friend, Nicolette, is enrolled as a student at the University of Art and pursuing a degree in fashion design.  Due to an essay she wrote on a clothing line she would like to design (a classy, modern one for plus sized teens), she was chosen to go to NYC for a class with a world-famous fashion illustrator AND given tickets for a runway show featuring top students from her school ~ the only school that has a runway show at the famous event.

When we arrived at our “boutique (and WAY too CHIC for my $19.99-outlet-store-Banana-Republic-sundress) hotel” ~ The Hudson, our room was not ready, so we HAD to go to the Terrace Bar for a cool drink and amazing city views.  It was gorgeous.
We realized pretty quickly, though, that Nicolette was actually a bit late for a book signing by the famous fashion illustrator (can’t remember her name, but that’s her in the sunglasses signing the book of the man with red dress pants!) who would be her instructor the following day, so we hopped in a cab and headed to Lincoln Center ~ me still in my magenta Banana Republic sundress and flat brown strappy GAP leather sandals.  Pretty sure my hair was in a pony tail, too. At least I wasn’t in shorts, and I had some jewelry on, because as you can probably tell from the photos it was ANOTHER. WORLD.  They were handing out free samples of electronic cigarettes at the door.
Hudson Terrace Bar
High heels with lots of ankle straps or crazy high and clunky platform shoes, expensive handbags, and cigarettes seemed to be the fashion theme for women.  For men it was mostly skinny jeans, pointy leather shoes, scarves, and cigarettes.  Cigarettes were definitely a thing. (Looks cool and suppresses appetite, I learned.) Hair, too.  Everyone’s hair was perfectly coiffed, spiked, curled, and pouffed.

To plan the trip, we met at Starbucks here in town a few days before, and over coffee decided to take in a Broadway show while we were there. Since Nicolette has seen “Wicked” many times ( I still haven’t!), we opted for a new one called “Big Fish.”  You may have seen the movie a few years back, but I never had.  It was GREAT, and I’m really glad I watched the movie the night before leaving for NYC, so I could follow the story better and appreciate how they managed the MANY flashbacks included in the movie.  But I’m always fairly mesmerized by live stage productions.  You may remember that I cried BOTH times I saw Mary Poppins on Broadway.  Happy tears.  Amazed tears.

Before the show, we ate in one of the hotel restaurants.  A very hip atmosphere, it was mostly fancy burgers and salads, which will work for the new paleo lifestyle, but then I saw that their french fries were made in-house, and could be served with a fried egg on top and a side of truffle aioli mayonnaise. Some people would say that potatoes don’t really fall into the paleo category, but many do, and I really wanted to try these “Thrice Cooked Fries.”  Fortunately, Nicolette also follows a high protein, low carb, no sugar diet, so searching for food was easier.  The fries, the egg, and mostly the mayo were incredible!

I had the following day mostly to myself, since Nicolette had class.  I got up early and went for a run around Central Park, stopping occasionally to take pictures with my phone. (Brand new iPhone user here!) Later, I met my oldest friend from elementary/middle/high school, Mike, for lunch.  He works on Park Ave, and had made reservations at a wonderful steak house ~ The Strip House.  Our families have met up in the city several times over the years, but this time it was just the two of us doing as much catching up as you can possibly do in two hours.  And the restaurant was perfect for eating paleo.  I had a filet mignon salad. It was basically small strips of extremely tender filet mignon served over thick slices of beefsteak tomatoes and arugula with a house balsamic dressing.  Perfect and delicious, too!
He headed back to the office for a conference call, and then I strolled down 5th Avenue drinking iced coffee, browsing through some of the famous shops, and just enjoying a sunny, 80 degree afternoon in the city.  I loved these banners at two different churches along the way.  I thought the “OMG” sermon series on the book of Psalms at First Presbyterian Church was especially clever.  I made my way all the way back to Columbus Circle and stopped in the Argo Tea Cafe for a Green Tea Ginger Twist which was sparkling water, green tea, lemon, and ginger with a bit of honey sweetener. So good!  Then I sat in the sunshine in Central Park and called Robert to tell him about my day, and hear about his trip to Texas.  We had missed each other coming and going that week!

After Nicolette’s class, we walked to the Time Warner Center and grabbed dinner in a box from the Whole Foods downstairs.  I had grilled chicken thighs, sautéed green beans, and roasted plantains.  We got dressed for the big fashion show that evening and BARELY made it back to Lincoln Center in time.  What an experience!  I’ve seen bits of runway shows on TV, with their seemingly emaciated, bare-faced, models, and outrageous, impractical clothing and this was no different.  The models all wore wigs with matching cuts, and I’m pretty sure smiling is not allowed.  Evidently striking a pose is a thing of the past, too, because the models walk straight ahead at a quick pace, and make sharp angled turns at the end of the runway.  Almost militaristic and robotic, but somehow not.

 Nicolette looked beautiful and wore a cute Mod Cloth 1950’s-style dress and carried a Kate Spade purse that looked like an old radio. I did my best in a lacy, grey, $29.99 TJ Maxx dress that I bought two summers ago for one of the ten weddings we attended in those three short months. I did get to wear my Nine West platform pumps, though, which I love but rarely have an opportunity to use in my day-to-day-middle-aged-homeschool-mom-and-pastor’s-wife-life. 😉

And as if that were not enough thrill to last us for several months at least, we spent Saturday at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Nicolette had been encouraged to take in one of the local museums, and make some sketches for future inspiration in her fashion designing, and I am certainly not one to say no to a trip to The Met ~ or really any art museum for that matter.  Nicolette had never been to The Met, and so it was fun to experience it through her eyes and with her excitement.
I enjoyed taking photos of artwork done by artists we are studying in the Western Cultural History seminar of my Challenge II class in order to show my students ~ Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Eyck, and Durer to name a few.  We ate lunch in the museum cafeteria ~ salads from the wonderful salad bar, mixed nuts, dried fruit, and water for both of us.

I am continually amazed at the adventures the Lord allows in my life, and for the most part, they are such precious and joyful gifts. (Some of His adventures are not quite as welcome as this one, but I suppose those are also gifts.) I am also continually amazed by the people the Lord has placed in my life.  It was wonderful to see an old friend and hear about his kids who are the same age as we were when we met, and spending time with Nicolette gleaning from her wisdom, people skills, perspective, and passions was a great blessing, too.

Who knew the whole church planting call to New England would involve such food and fashion adventures as these.  I know for sure that this is part of how the Lord extends the grace needed to continue the journey, and for that I am very thankful.

Gluten Free Friday ~ One Month of Paleo

It really started several years ago, this toying with the idea of restricting my diet even MORE than it already is, but this magazine that I bought to read on the plane to Texas last month included the compelling evidence I needed to make me stop toying and start practicing.  I’m sort of scared to even tell you about this, because I know there are a few of you out there who are already suspicious of dietary “restrictions”and “special diets” and might be thinking “Isn’t she already ‘high maintenance’ enough?” I read a hilarious post about Whole Foods the other day, and it includes a funny line or two about “special diets” and not being wealthy enough to afford one, etc. ~ Ha! (Attention: There are some inappropriate parts/words in the article, though, so please beware.) Anyway, I know it may come off as trying to be “in vogue,” but I can assure you that my (or “our,” as you’ll see) decision to try the paleo diet is simply about feeling better physically and emotionally, getting properly nourished, and avoiding problematic foods. 
Honestly, it’s also about honoring God in our bodies, and being more able to worship and serve Him due to the wisdom He keeps revealing to us.  Isn’t it “the fool” in Proverbs who knows the right thing to do, but stubbornly refuses to submit ~ scoffing at wisdom principles and exhortations? Please don’t hear me say that the paleo diet is the godly diet, though. I’m just responding to His seeming wisdom and leading in my life! This is exactly how the Lord revealed to us that Cooper had Celiac disease ten years ago THIS MONTH, which led to the healing of our entire family, for which I remain so very grateful (The boy was so sick!)
And really, it’s not just food.  The “diet” encourages an entire lifestyle ~ of the caveman variety, and it’s based on the fact that, evolutionarily speaking, humans have not been eating grains, legumes, or processed foods for very long and can’t efficiently process or use them.  We also haven’t had artificial light for very long and our post-post-modern late-nights, early-mornings, crammed schedules, and excess screen time are really not doing us any health favors.
Before reading this magazine, it was the cookbook Nourishing Traditions that got me thinking.  Recipes for meat and veggies, others for legumes and grains only after they have been soaked and sprouted, and lots of very interesting research on the need the body has for fats started the mental toying ~ or should I say ruminating?  It touts butter as a superfood, and has a recipes for things like bear meat and liver. Cholesterol?  Dietary cholesterol should never really raise the body’s cholesterol levels dangerously.  If you have high cholesterol, it’s not necessarily what you’re eating, but typically some other health issue, this cookbook/nutritional research book explains.
And then there were the friends doing CrossFit (Hi, Deanna and Joanna!) and posting yummy paleo meals on Facebook ~ or even publishing their own cookbooks! I listened to their experiences and wisdom, as well as friends who were doing the GAPS diet (gut and psychology) and it all made perfect sense to me.
Kale Coconut Pear Smoothie

I picked up the Paleo magazine, not because I was necessarily ready to take the plunge into the diet, but because it had an interesting article about Celiac disease listed on the front cover. Even after being diagnosed with Celiac disease and taking gluten totally out of my diet, it took me quite a while to heal and reverse the symptoms ~ about 3 years, really. And even then, I still reacted to highly “starchy” foods like white or brown rice and corn ~ feeling extremely full and looking like I was nine months pregnant after every meal due to immediate bloating. If I eat eggs, bacon, and potato I’m fine, but when I eat California rolls with white rice or GF muffins in the checkout line at Whole Foods due to a hunger attack, I’m suffering for the rest of the day ~ even if I drink a bottle of kombucha or kefir to boost the probiotics to help with the I-know-better-starchy-food-digestion.

For years we’ve had a “no cereal for breakfast” rule at our house, because inevitably, one hour later everyone’s back in the kitchen due to dropping blood sugar levels and looking for some real food, because that’s what starches do ~ they turn to sugar and only satisfy temporarily.  Eating toast?  Have a fried egg with that!  Bagel? Load it up with cream cheese!  Pumpkin Muffins? I’ll cut up some grapefruit and heat up some sausage to go along with it!  Cereal is simply a snack around here ~ and not a very good one, in my opinion. You see, I’ve always had my suspicions about proper nutrition, if only from personal experience and “gut” reactions ~ of the physical and intuitive type.

Anyway, the signs and admonitions have been there all along, and after doing some reading and researching, I’m pretty convinced that the paleo diet and lifestyle which includes exercise, sunshine, proper sleep, and good stress management is optimal for health and nutrition.

So this means…. no grains, no legumes, no dairy, no soy, and NO SUGAR

What does that leave? Beef, Chicken, Pork, Fish, Wild Game, etc., vegetables, fruits, nuts, and oils.

Paleo Blueberry Muffins, Lemon Bars, Banana Bread, Berries & Nuts, and Sweet Potatoes with Egg Scrambles

I started sharing some of the magazine’s information with Robert on the flight south, and he was as compelled as I was.  In fact, he said that if I did it, he would do it, too!  Now, this is the guy who really enjoys a brownie with coffee or a bear claw with breakfast, but he, too, was experiencing some negative effects from sugar intake = roller coaster blood sugar and fatigue (Do you know HOW HARD your body has to work to process white sugar?  VERY.), so he was ready to plunge into the caveman lifestyle with me.  It makes it so much easier and enjoyable to have him on this journey with me!

Did you know that high carb diets have been linked to Alzheimers Disease? (not to mention Diabetes, and several other auto-immunes.)  So many interesting connections to mental illnesses and the ADD/Autism spectrum with carbs and diet, too. Did you know that legumes and rice have very high phytic acid contents that attaches to protein making it inaccessible to the body? (which is why soaking and sprouting is encouraged)  You would be frightened to know how “vegetable” oil is made, or the effects of soy on hormones. I have learned so much about nutrition in the last ten years since being diagnosed with Celiac, and the information regarding the Standard American Diet (SAD), is just as the acronym describes.

So, what have we been eating?  Well, here’s a sampling from the last month:

B- Egg & veggie scramble, sausage
L-Turkey in lettuce wraps, plantain chips
D-Chicken Soup & Salad

B-Coconut Berry Smoothie with almond butter
L-Chicken Salad, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes
D-Beef Stew, sliced carrots, red peppers & paleo blueberry muffins

B-Veggie omelet, bacon
L-Apple slices with almond butter
D-Ground beef patty, lettuce, avocado, red onion, sweet potato

B-Paleo banana bread, berry/spinach smoothie
L-Hard-boiled eggs, sliced carrots, guacamole
D-Chicken thighs, roasted broccoli, cantaloupe

B-Sausage & egg scramble, clementines
L-Shredded leftover roast beef over cauliflower “rice”
D-Curried Chicken tenders, green beans, salad

There’s definitely a bit of a learning curve, and honestly, I don’t like the idea of eating that much meat, but my tummy and I feel better, and I’ve got to re-program myself to understand what is truly nutritious ~ i.e. animal products nourish much better than beans and grains.

One thing that has been difficult is running.  On my first run after beginning the diet, I had to stop after 3-4 miles. We usually run 6-7 miles three mornings a week together, and I run 5 with a friend on Thursdays, but I could not keep going that day.  It takes a while for your body to learn to fuel itself with fat rather than carb, but the brain eventually catches on and tells the rest of the body what to do.  And there’s so much fascinating science behind all of that, but this post is already getting toooooo long.

I haven’t even given you a new paleo recipe.

Here are a few links for now:

Paleo Almond Muffins (pictured above with blueberries baked in)
Baked Egg in Avocado & MORE
Grilled Steak with Summer Veggies

We are not enforcing this diet on the kids, though.  They think we’re a little bit crazy, just like you might by now!  Have a good weekend, and maybe next week I’ll tell you about my adventures eating paleo in New York City!