Monday, August 3, 2015

Giving My Daughter a Pixie Haircut

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Before I became a mom, I had all sorts of ideas of what parenting would be like, and even made a whole long list of things I'd want to do with my daughters, and another list of things I'd want to do with my sons.

Fast forward 8 years, and very few things of what I do are what I expected I'd be doing. For one, I'd always expected to have my daughters have long hair, which I'd style each morning. For another, I never expected that I'd be an unschooler, who doesn't just follow unschooling tenets for educating, but also sometimes when it comes to child rearing (often referred to as radical unschooling or whole life unschooling). We're definitely not complete radical unschoolers, but I do pick and choose certain things from the philosophy that make sense to me, and jive with my parenting style.
One of the big rules of radical unschooling is body autonomy, respecting your child's body, and letting them choose what they want to do with it, so long as they aren't hurting anyone else or themselves, and so long as it doesnt affect their health/hygiene. This makes sense to me. This, therefore, includes whatever hairstyles they want to have, even if it isn't the type of hairstyle you'd want your kids to have.

I've heard of parents that will not let their kids cut their hair. I don't think that is fair. It's the kids' hair, and the kids who needs to sit through the brushing, washing, styling of their hair, and for the parent to not let their kid cut it, simply because the parents can't bear to part with their kids hair- just doesn't seem right to me, and it seems that it isn't respecting the kid's feelings enough. Respecting a kid's body and choice over his own body is an important step in kids learning to take responsibility for their own body, respect their body, and not anyone take advantage of their body. Not guaranteed, but it certainly plays a part.
I'm also very into treating my kids the way I would want to be treated, and not deciding that the rule of "treat others how you want to be treated" doesn't apply to my kids. I can just imagine how I'd feel if I'd want to have my hair a certain style, and be told that I couldn't have that style because someone else doesn't want me to. I mean, excuse me- my hair, my choice.

So anyhow, why am I going into this?

Well, Anneliese, my 3.5 year old, has been asking me to give her a haircut for a while already.
Every single time she sees me cut her brothers' hair, she's asked me to cut her hair. Sometimes I oblige and give her a little trim.

But she has been getting upset at this.
She wants short hair, she says. Like her brothers.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Chicken Neck and Watermelon Rind Stew Recipe- Super Frugal, Paleo and GAPS Legal

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Sometimes you just get inspired by whatever random things are lying around your house, throwing them together in the hopes that you might make something tasty out of it. And sometimes you're in luck, because the food doesn't just come out passable, or even tasty, but absolutely delicious, enough so that you want to repeat it. But since you just threw it together the first time without a recipe, you really hope that when you make it a second time, this time recording exact amounts for the recipe, you're able to recreate that phenomenal taste.
And sometimes you get lucky, when the second batch tastes just as good as the first.

That is what happened today.

Last week I had a bunch of watermelon rind in my refrigerator, and not many other vegetables since I needed to go shopping. I had a few odds and ends- some mushrooms, a few soft tomatoes, a bit of celery, but that's about it. I also had defrosted a package of chicken necks that I'd bought at the grocery store for 65 cents a pound (in comparison, the next cheapest meat here is chicken wings, generally at $1.16 per pound) and wanted to use that as our protein. Chicken necks actually do have meat on them- in case you were wondering- you just need to cook it first to make it super soft before eating.
So, as I alluded to beforehand- I threw them together and made such a delicious stew for my family that I decided to recreate it today, also so we could enjoy another super frugal and tasty meal, and so that I would have a precise recipe to share on my blog with you. And again, it came out superb. (According to Mike it was "amazing, delicious, terrific.")

And for those of you on special diets- this is Paleo legal, and GAPS legal if you leave out the starch. And it is also allergy friendly. Did I mention super cheap?

Last week when I posted the picture of my lunch on Facebook, people wanted to know what watermelon rind actually tastes like, and how you use it. So basically, watermelon rind tastes pumpkiny- not exactly like it, but a similar flavor profile. I've made a Moroccan style watermelon rind salad that tastes similar to Moroccan carrot or pumpkin salad. It works similarly in recipes. I have to try a watermelon rind pie, like pumpkin pie. :-D That'll be interesting.
As to how to use it- you cut off the very thin outer dark green layer on your watermelon rind, and use the white/light green rind. Most recipes say to cut off any pink part of the watermelon rind, but I don't bother.

Chicken Neck and Watermelon Rind Stew Recipe- Super Frugal, Paleo and GAPS Legal

Friday, July 31, 2015

Homemade Healthy Toffee Bars Recipe- Paleo, Raw Vegan, GAPS Legal, Grain Free, Gluten Free

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Growing up, my mom would make these really yummy treats- cookie on the bottom, chocolate on the top, which she'd call toffee bars. I never really understood why those were called toffee bars- isn't toffee like caramel? But either way, they were a great treat that I looked forward to having.

The other day I was heading out to a special party in honor of the birth of my sister Violet's baby, and I know that because I am currently on such a strict diet, I couldn't expect there to be anything there that I could eat, let alone a treat, so I decided to pack along Paleo Reset legal foods, including a small treat- mainly cashews, with a little bit of dates to hold it together, and carob powder for flavor. It was so good that I decided to make it again for my family, this time measuring out exact amounts.
My family absolutely loved it, despite it having only 9 dates for the entire batch, so not exactly very sweet.
I made this with carob powder since cocoa powder isn't allowed on my current diet, but feel free to use cocoa powder in place of the carob powder. I would have made them with my own homemade carob powder from foraged carobs, but I'm currently out and the carobs aren't all the way ripe yet.

I had a hard time figuring out what to name this, but then I realized that it is most similar to my mom's toffee bars- only healthy, paleo, and vegan. So there it is.

Homemade HealthyToffee Bars Recipe- Paleo, Raw Vegan, GAPS Legal, Grain Free, Gluten Free

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Cracklin Chicken Recipe- Grain Free, Simple, Fried Chicken

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My youngest, Rose, has always been a huge fan of chicken. My second oldest, Ike, also loves chicken and always has. My oldest, Lee, and third child, Anneliese- they'll eat chicken, but aren't the hugest fans, and sometimes I'd have to do a little bargaining with them to get them to eat their chicken.
Or well, I have to say that's how it was.
But now I found a new chicken recipe that my kids, all 4 of them, are in love with. And want seconds and thirds of it. And my husband and I love it as well. It is super, duper simple, but tastes absolutely amazing.

I didn't make up the recipe myself. I saw the idea originally on Nom Nom Paleo, but as it was written there I couldn't/wouldn't do that. No chicken fried in ghee in this house (ghee is out for me, because it makes me nauseous, for some reason), and I didn't like the fact that in Nom Nom Paleo's recipe you debone the thighs. Ugh. I don't mind deboning whole chickens, but deboning thighs is just too much for me to want to do.

So I decided to make this with coconut oil and bone-in chicken thighs. And drumsticks. And wings. Basically all dark meat chicken.

You've gotta try it.

Oh- and why is it called cracklin chicken?
Well, if you ever followed my recipe for rendering chicken fat, from chicken skins, etc... you'd know that when you render the fat from the chicken skins, the skins become crispy and crunchy and are called cracklins. Well, so the skin of this chicken gets to be like that. It's amazing.

So here's how you do it.

Cracklin Chicken Recipe- Grain Free, Simple, Fried Chicken

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Making Homemade Nut Butter, Seed Butter, and Peanut Butter

 photo IMG_0178 Small_zpsblvay1k9.jpgToday I did something that I never thought I'd be able to do- I made homemade walnut butter!

I have read many times that making homemade nut butters isn't really so hard, you just have to stick it in your food processor and let it run, scraping down the sides.

And I tried it.
I really did.
More than once.
And I was disappointed every single time.

I was sure that the problem therefore must lay with my food processor, that I simply didn't have the right kind.
But that didn't really make so much sense to me, since I have a Cuisinart one, which isn't exactly considered to be bad quality.
I just didn't really have success though.

Then today I read someone post about how they made homemade almond butter, and they described all the steps that happen when you're making it, steps that make you think that your nut butter flopped, but really, it is just part of the process of making it.

So I decided to give it a try.

And voila- success!

Celebrating Your Anniversary on a Budget

Mike and I are celebrating our 9th anniversary within the next few months. I've already been thinking about what we can do to celebrate it frugally, so this guest post by Kelly Jordan really hit the spot and gave me some great ideas to think about. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

We get it. Money’s tight. In your family. In the middle class. In the country at large. More and more, hardworking people are struggling to make ends meet, and that means there is less and less to go around when special occasions come up. Like dinners out. Like family vacations. Like your wedding anniversary.

When the budget’s tight, it’s that last one that often gets the short end of the stick. You’ve got to have that family vacation for the kids. But for you and your spouse? Well, wedding anniversary celebrations and gifts can add up and you’re not sure you can afford it. We understand, of course. We really do. But we’re also here to tell you not to give up on that anniversary. Even with a small budget, you can choose meaningful and personalized wedding anniversary gifts that won’t break the bank and enjoy a wonderful afternoon or evening with your other half.

Sound like something you need? Then read on for our best tips for celebrating your anniversary on a budget.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments This Week

Sorry for not getting around to posting this until now- here's my family's frugal accomplishments of this last week. No, we didn't so so much frugaling- it was super hot and we didn't really have much energy to do much other than veg out, so anything frugal that we did do, I consider a great accomplishment.

So, here's what we did to save money this past week in our household:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Having Fun With My New Spiralizer

 photo IMG_0094_zpsbzgmnug9.jpgI decided a few months ago that I wanted to do this Paleo reset, but also said that I would be more likely to be able to actually get through it if I had a spiralizer, since it would change things up and mean that I didn't just have to eat all my veggies plain, but rather, I could recreate some of my favorite pasta and rice dishes, using spiralized veggies in place of pasta or rice.
I'll be honest- I feel a little guilty even writing this post, since I posted a while ago about how to make zucchini noodles without a spiralizer, and then I went and bought one.
But I'll be honest- the reason that I bought one is because as much as saving money is awesome, so is saving your sanity. And I realized that if something takes so long that it makes you not want to do it other than on rare occasions, it doesn't really end up being worth it. I decided that using my julienne peeler was too time consuming when it took me literally half an hour to make noodles from only one (albeit giant) beet. I said there's no way I can do that on a regular basis, there's a limit to how much time I can spend in the kitchen...
I decided to buy a spiralizer, but wanted to make the best financial decision. I decided to price compare with the various options available, and found some cheaper ones on ebay, that work like a pencil sharpener, but I decided not to go with those because they didn't seem like they'd be any easier/faster than my julienne peeler, and because you could only make noodles out of veggies that fit into the "sharpener". They also only had one size blade.
So I wanted an actual spiralizer, with a few different sized blades, a handle that turned, and a stand. I looked through ebay from lowest price, and after scrolling through 6 pages of pencil sharpener spiralizers I found one on ebay for 20 bucks, from China. Of course, anything from China takes forever to arrive, and I actually waited to start my 30 day Paleo reset until after it arrived.

So the question is- is this something only people on the Paleo diet would find useful?
Absolutely not.
If you're gluten free- making pasta from cheap seasonal veggies can very easily be cheaper than store bought gluten free pasta.
This is also beneficial for raw vegans, and even for people who are just trying to increase their veggie intake- even mixing veggie spaghetti half half with regular spaghetti in recipes can be an easy way to "sneak" veggies in.

Ever since it arrived, I've been having lots and lots of fun with this new tool. I use it at least a few times a week, sometimes even a few times a day. I find on days that I take it down to use, I end up making a ton of things in it at one go, doing some bulk food prep, so that on other days I can have it ready to make.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Homemade Chia Kombucha Recipe- A Refreshing, Fermented, Healing Drink

 photo kombucha_zpsf6p6fhtd.jpgI'll be honest, I hadn't planned to write this post today- I had two other posts that I was working hard on writing- I wanted something other than a recipe, since it felt like my blog has been super recipe heavy and some people want other stuff, not just recipes...
But you know what happens... it's hot. It makes me grumpy. The kids took up a lot of my attention. And by the time I actually got down to finishing my blog post for today, I realized I didn't have the sitzfleisch or the headspace to actually finish the posts I'd started.
However, this morning I'd posted this picture on Facebook, of my yummy hibiscus spearmint green tea kombucha with chia seeds, and people were begging me to please share the recipe.

So here it is.

It really isn't such a big deal to make if you already know how to make kombucha.

If you don't know how to make kombucha, or even what kombucha is... well, let me backtrack for a second.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Paleo Raisin Nut Bars Recipe- Larabar Style, Vegan, Date Free

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I love Larabar type bars. And so do my kids. They're easy to make, very delicious, and allowed on all sorts of diets that are pretty restrictive. Including the 30 day Paleo reset.
So I'd fully planned on making Larabar type bars for the kids... only I had no dates. That's a problem, since they are both the glue and the sweetness in the bars.
But I did have a huge box of raisins at home that I bought in bulk, so I decided to see if maybe I could try to make my bars using only raisins and no dates.

Well, I'm posting this recipe with caveats.
It tasted great!
Its texture could use some improvement. Meaning- I kept it in the freezer, and even so it was a bit sticky. I would use less water, a little more nuts, and a little more coconut oil next time I use this recipe. As it is, it really is awesome. And if you do it exactly as written, hopefully your family will inhale it as fast as mine did. But if you want to make it even more perfect, I suggest the changes written in parenthesis below.

Paleo Raisin Nut Bars Recipe- Larabar Style, Vegan, Date Free

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