Dealing With Interruptions

Check out my June article, Dealing With Interruptions, at Parenting Q&A, hot off the press! ;O)

Here’s the question:

I’m a stay-at-home mom, but I also freelance three days a week. Balancing parenting with my writing career is more difficult than I thought it would be. We do need the extra income, and we feel strongly that we’re to be the ones raising our three children. However, I’m verging on burn-out over here and can’t get a break for all the interruptions.

Happy first day of summer, everyone!

Yummy Superfoods: Spotlight on Cacao Nibs!

If you haven’t discovered the Live Superfoods website yet, today is *your* day! What is a “Superfood”? It’s a nutrient-dense food that ramps up your health at the cell level like you can’t believe.

Superfoods range from powders to actual foods. Be sure to check out the big variety of superfood powders at Live Superfoods–our favorite so far is Mesquite with its amazing claims for diabetics. Plus, it happens to be delicious sprinkled on yogurt, or added to smoothies and hot drinks!  Camu Camu powder is said to be highly effective against depression, containing between 30 and 60 times as much vitamin C as an orange!

Goji berries, bee pollen and wheat grasses are some other superfoods our family has tried and fallen in love with. And this is just the tip of the superfood iceberg. Today, I want to tell you about raw cacao nibs!

Raw Cacao Nibs

Chocolate is made from cacao beans…need I say more? But unlike processed chocolate, raw cacao nibs (broken up cacao beans) are rich in nutrients, and full of health benefits. You won’t believe all the ways they are good for you, so go to the link below and read up!

A snippet from the Live Superfoods website on Raw Cacao Nibs:

Cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas. In fact, it has up to four times the quantity of antioxidants found in green tea!

Cacao is LOADED with magnesium and just might be the number one source of magnesium of any food. Could this be why women crave chocolate before or during their menstrual period? Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and is associated with creating more happiness. Magnesium is the most deficient major mineral on the Standard American Diet (SAD) – over 80% of Americans are chronically deficient in magnesium.

But what do you do with Raw Cacao Nibs?

We love our nibs mixed in with a little raw honey and coconut butter, and goji berries if we have them. You won’t find a healthier, more palate pleasing, melt in your mouth treat to replace that candy bar fix.  Sometimes we mix it up and freeze it in candy molds, and then just pop them out of the molds, bag them up and store them in the freezer.

(I think I’m going to go pull one out for a snack this minute!)

Here’s another fab recipe. I first tried Agave at the homeschool convention this spring. WOW. Delicious stuff, with the same consistency as honey, but more expensive!

Raw Almond Butter Cups from Everyday Raw by Matthew Kenney

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1.5 cups agave (divided)
  • 2 cups coconut oil (divided)
  • 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 cup cacao nibs
  • parchment paper
  • a baking sheet with sides

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix the almond butter, 1/2 cup of agave, 1/2 cup of coconut oil and sea salt. Set aside until ready to use (not in refrigerator).
  2. In a blender, blend cacao nibs, 1 cup agave, 1.5 cups coconut oil until smooth.
  3. Spread 1/2 of the cacao mixture from Step 2 onto a parchment lined baking sheet with “walls” to create a thin layer. Place in freezer for 15 minutes or until it firms up.
  4. Remove from freezer and spread almond butter mixture from Step 1 over the hardened cacao mixture.
  5. Spread remaining cacao mixture over the top of the spread almond mixture and put the pan back into the freezer until its firm.
  6. Remove from freezer and turn out the mixture from the pan onto the cutting board. Remove parchment paper and cut up the firmed up mixture into small piece. Voila! Almond butter cups!
  7. Be sure to store these in the fridge or freezer.

Yield: about 1.5 quarts.

For my previous post on nut butters, including Almond Butter, go here!

Last but not least…I’m able to order our raw cacao nibs from Frontier through our local co-op. My coffee grinder handily spins some of them into a powder so my oldest daughter (braces) can enjoy them, too.  We’re totally devoted fans!

The Do’s and Don’t’s of Eggs

Why You Don’t Want to Buy Organic Eggs at the Grocery Store was the title of an article recently delivered to my inbox. Basically, the article revealed industry requirements in readying eggs for market. Specifically washing eggs in chlorine baths, or other harsh chemicals, and then coating them with mineral oil.eggs

One of the first things I learned from the resident farm-pro down the road, is that washing eggs opens them wide up for contamination, which is why commercial producers have to coat their eggs with mineral oil. With 7,500 pores or openings in the eggshell, it’s best to leave intact the protective bloom, or waxy coating that God intended to protect the egg from harmful bacteria.

Spot-washing here and there is how I’ve always dealt with unwanted, errm…*smears*…but come to find out, the best way according to the above article, is to wash those spots off with warm water (20 degrees warmer than the egg) that’s been mixed in a 3:1 ratio with vinegar. Just like my grandma used to do it! (Read the above article to find out why)

We have 39 organic laying hens, and we sell about 10 dozen eggs a week–very small scale. But what you see is what you get. Our chickens free-range from early in the morning till dark, from their chicken “barn” with its two doors flung open wide. We supplement their free-ranging with organic feed that’s been mixed with Fertrell’s Nutri-balancer. This organic supplement contains 10-20% more nutrients than what the USDA requires, plus kelp meal, probiotics, chelated minerals (makes the minerals more bio-available), and phosphate, which enhances the layer’s absorption of calcium for  strong shells.

With organic eggs at the store costing anywhere from $4/dozen in our area, you might want to find a local farmer near you who does things the common sense way. Query him to know exactly what you are buying.

For more on how good free-range eggs are for you compared to your typical grocery store variety, visit Mother Earth’s Chicken and Egg page. I like to print this off and share it with my new egg customers. Most people can’t believe that pastured (free-range) poultry eggs can boast of the following when compared to their grocery store counterparts:

• 1⁄3 less cholesterol
• 1⁄4 less saturated fat
• 2⁄3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene

Happy News for the Kiddos: Did you know that out of the 69 billion eggs produced annually, only 2.3 million of them are contaminated with salmonella. That’s .003 %, or 1 in 30,000 eggs. Go ahead and enjoy that raw cookie dough! Salmonella infections are typically found in commercially raised hens. Sick chickens lay salmonella contaminated eggs. So buy high quality, cage free, organic eggs from a local producer and your risk of salmonella disappears!

One more thing before I sign off…yesterday we butchered around 60 chickens with the neighbors, along with another family’s help. This other family had helped friends of theirs process chickens just a week or two prior.

(This chicken killing thing is catching on…)

Anyway…the point is, this family told us how two families brought their birds to be processed, one family had fed their broilers organic feed, the other family hadn’t. The organically fed birds had more fat and healthier livers than the non-organic birds. Believe me, if you have ever butchered chickens, the liver tells the whole story. They should be dark and smooth, not spotted, green, enlarged, etc.

I’m telling you, God created us and our environments, and man keeps messing with a good thing! No antibiotics or GMO feeds for my birdies!

Get thyselves educated! We ARE what we EAT.