Just a few snippets of the last week in food. It’s been a busy week, and unpredictable food-wise. So I didn’t get together that perfect week in food. But I worry not! Even when my menu plan doesn’t go… as planned, it’s never a loss. I just move those meals around on the calendar and it makes my job easier for the next week. No worries. That being said, there were some beautiful things to eat this past week.
Eggplant burgers. We tested them out from frozen patties, and it worked well! They fell apart a bit when I tried to flip them, but they cooked up beautifully in the oven, roasted alongside these yummy sunchokes. Served on a bed of spinach with homemade (and cultured!) mayo and salsa… oh man. SO GOOD. I am definitely making these (in a larger quantity) next year. Mmm mmm.
I also wanted to share with you the amazingness that is potato-leek soup. Oh man. This soup is amazingly simple and incredibly delicious. I love this soup! Here’s what you do. Cut up about 3 leeks and soften them in a pan with the fat of your choice. In this case, I chose a little bacon fat…
To that, add potatoes, a healthy dose of garlic, chicken/veggie stock (for this I just did one quart chicken stock with a quart of water), salt, pepper, a little thyme if you want…
Let that cook for a while, then go at it with a hand blender (or ladle your soup into a blender or something to get a smooth texture). Serve with a little sour cream, cheese, a slice of hearty sourdough toast… or just beautifully plain. YUM!
So, with the holidays practically upon us, I’ve taken it upon myself to create some recipes for sweet things. I do this because, frankly, most sweets offered during the holidays are a recipe for disaster. Sure, we’ll have some pie, we’ll taste a few cookies… and then we’ll experience sugar withdrawal from just those few little treats. I happens every year. Jeff and I are fine having a treat here and there, then the holidays pass and BAM- we’re buying ice cream and craving sweets far more often until we recognize it and wean ourselves off. It’s so easy to do- that refined sugar is serious trouble! Now that I have a little toddler with an innocent sweet tooth, I feel like I have to be doubly prepared. Vera has the best appetite, eating practically everything I give her (the quantities vary, but the variety does not), UNTIL she has a few sweets at the grandparents’ houses- and we’re suddenly in this 3 or 4 day battle to wean her off. All while she begs for maple syrup or eats just the jam off her toast, asking for more when it’s gone. Suddenly in tantrum mode when I say she can’t have a "treat". It’s horrible. I hate it. It happens almost every time- and I’ve noticed it coincides with when she has treats with refined sugar in them. Just a little maple syrup in her oats? No big deal. A frosted cookie or two? Watch out. I wonder if this is the issue many parents have with their children- they refuse to eat anything but sweet/carby, and really what’s happening is an addiction to sugar. I think most people suffer from this, and I’m amazed by how quickly we are affected by it now that I’ve put the pieces together.
So, long story short, I do not plan on being a big downer and not letting us eat sweets. We’ll have them in moderation. BUT, when it comes time to reset our systems, I’m going to try to be better prepared. This will include a good dose of probiotics and plenty of lacto-fermented foods all throughout the season, and sweet treats that I can stand by. This so, when our cravings hit, we can grab something that will be good for us. So, with all that in mind, I put together this simple hot cocoa recipe.
I just gathered ingredients that I thought would be nice- cocoa, allspice, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, raw cane sugar, and a little instant espresso (for mamas).
I put together a good sprinkling of each of the spices (and just a pinch of cayenne), and then about 2 parts cocoa to 1 part sugar.
I heated it all up with some fresh whole milk, and voila! It was nicely spiced, slightly sweet, and had a bit of heat from the cayenne right at the back of your throat… very warming and delicious. Vera liked it too. I will probably try different variations, but I liked this one so much that I made a whole jar to use over the next month.
What are you all cooking up for the holidays?
*Note: I also wanted to add something about my weight loss/postpartum happenings. I’m happy to report that so far, my high-fat, whole food diet seems to be doing it’s work, and I’m losing about a pound a week with minimal effort. This is actually more weight loss than I saw after having Vera (although my diet is even better now). I’m pleased and I feel good. I’m still above my pre-pregnancy weight, but I don’t mind. I’ve got lots of milk to make (for two kids!), and I’m only 4.5 months PP. I’d also like to add that I haven’t been able to exercise very intensively at all. I’m lucky if I get on the elliptical once every couple of weeks. I am active around the house, and I still take walks when I can, but it’s nothing more than that usually. Every body is different and needs different things, but I guess I just wanted to see that this diet was something that would benefit me and get me back to my optimal weight without breaking my back exercising. So far so good. I know some of you were interested, so I wanted to give an update. So, without getting too specific, I know that I’ve lost a little less than 20 pounds since my first weigh-in after giving birth. It fluctuates, but I’m always steadily losing. I guess what this tells me is that this diet and this amount of activity is perfect for getting me to my optimal weight, and healthily, and that’s exactly what I was aiming for. 🙂
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wow, cayenne is something i would have never thought to put in hot chocolate… but it actually sounds like something i could like! very interesting!!