on morning drinkies.

Besides smoothies, and a few cups of coffee, we’ve added a few additional drinkies to our morning repertoire: 

Maca tea, for starters, is what I’ve been drinking. The more I research this powdered little tuber, the more I have great respect for it, gross though it may be. Maca powder is actually really good for keeping your hormones in check (and boosting libido, if you need that). I’ve been drinking a teaspoon mixed in hot herbal tea each morning, since I’m currently on the pill, but I plan to go off birth control and keep up the maca-drinking habits. This may have totally been my imagination, but I swear when I drank maca every day during my placebo week, I didn’t have any cramps (I normally have debilitating ones and down an embarrassing amount of ibuprofen). Maca gets clumpy in tea, though, so I recommend letting it steep (the herbal kind can steep for five or ten minutes, which seems to me good), and then I whisk in my tablespoon. You’ll need a bit of raw honey, too!

This technically isn’t a totally new drink, but we have added kefir to our breakfast smoothie blend. If you aren’t familiar with it, you can probably find a bottle lurking in the refrigerated foods section at your grocery store (unless you’re super hardcore, and make your own). It’s kind of like effervescent runny yogurt, but tangier. It’s also practically lactose-free, which is how a few bottles wound up in our fridge. 

You can get kefir in a lot of different flavors, but I’d recommend sticking with plain, and avoiding all the added sugar and other things they add in that you don’t need. You can make your own fruit-flavored kefir at home, anyway, if you drink it by itself and don’t sneak it in a smoothie. And kefir packs a more powerful healthy-bacterial punch than yogurt, so I think, as far as dairy products go, we’re sticking with this one. Kefir actually helps Timothy’s stomach issues, which is a big deal in our house!

I would recommend, if you are, too, a smoothie drinker in the morning, reducing the amount of dark leafy greens you put in your smoothie if you use kefir as a base. I love our kale, but kale and kefir are not, at least in my mouth, BFFs. 

Besides maca powdered tea and kefired smoothies, we’ve also been consuming two cups of gelatinous hot toddies a day (one in the morning and one at night). Gelatin has a lot of protein and collagen and amino acids (I think), and who doesn’t want more of that? I’m hoping to see a difference in my skin and hair, and a difference in Timothy’s gut. But anyway. We get the kosher, grassfed beef kind, I think the brand is Great Lakes. You’ll have to mix your tablespoon in a bit of cool water first, stir it up really well (it will turn the water to Jello), and then add hot water from your tea kettle to top it off. We also sweeten it with honey, add a few drops of lemon essential oil, and sometimes a few shakes of good cinnamon. It takes the icky taste out.

Well, there you have it! It’s a lot to drink, I know, but if you start out your day early and with a cup of maca and herbal tea, a glass of probiotic-laced smoothie, a mug of black coffee, and a hot cinnamon-lemon gelatin-toddy, you’re most likely off to a good start.

Happy morning drinking!

on coq au vin.

I probably had Joy of Cooking for at least a year before I cracked it open and tried a recipe. (To be honest, I think the guinea pig might have been mulled wine–not my thing, but it sounded good on paper). I’ve never been one for using cookbooks, but there’s a wealth of knowledge in this one, and lately I’ve been reaching for it more and more. A lot of the recipes are easy to tweak for those of us who are trying to be more health-conscious since they don’t call for processed ingredients.

Last night’s dinner is basically a gluten-free version of Coq Au Vin from Joy of Cooking. Here is what I used:

4 1/2 pounds of organic drumsticks. You could use any chicken part(s) you want, but the grocery store we were at had a pretty limited selection of organic meats, so this is what we came home with!

4 oz bacon (make sure it’s nitrite-free! Also, I fried extra to add to my mashed cauliflower).

1 chopped sweet onion

3/4 cup chopped carrots

1/2 to 1 teaspoon coconut flour (I might should have used more, but I was wary–I’ve only ever used coconut flour for baking, not thickening sauces)

1 bottle of red wine (I used cab sav, my go-to red)

1 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon marjoram and oregano (each)

4 tablespoons butter

1 cup pearl onions (frozen)

10 oz baby bells, sliced

Fry up the bacon, I used a big skillet, and take it out to drain on paper towels while you brown the drumsticks in the leftover grease. Make sure you salt and pepper your chicken before sticking it in the pan! Also, if you run out of bacon grease, that’s okay–I did too. Just add a tablespoon or so of butter and you’ll be fine (preferably unsalted, as it won’t burn).

When all your chicken has been browned, put it in a big pot, covered, and add your chopped onions and carrots to the skillet (with more butter if needed). Cook those until fairly softened, then add your coconut flour, red wine, chicken broth, tomato paste, and herbs. Simmer that until it’s all mixed, then pour your sauce over your chicken in the big pot, add the pearl onions, and bring it to a boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a half hour or so until the chicken is done.

While the chicken simmers, sauté your baby bellas in a couple of tablespoons of butter until all the liquid has evaporated. If you’ve used some butter to sauté your chicken and veggies, don’t use four tablespoons on ten ounces of mushrooms–you don’t need that much.

When your chicken is finished cooking, fish it and the bay leaves out of the sauce. Toss the leaves, plate the chicken and drape it in foil. Then, turn up the heat and boil your sauce until it’s reduced and sauce-like. Once you’ve got it to the right consistency (make sure you taste-test!), reduce the heat and add the chicken and mushrooms back into the pot. Salt and pepper that bad boy, let everything simmer until it’s warmed the chicken back up, and you’re done! You can top with fresh parsley if you like–I didn’t only because I forgot.

I served my coq au vin with mashed cauliflower (and the leftover bacon) and roasted asparagus.

Happy cooking, and also Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day!

on quick breakfasts.

We’ve probably been consuming smoothies in some form or another for breakfast every single day for the past, I don’t know, eight months maybe? It’s a habit. In our pantry, you’ll always find bags of smoothie-goodies: seeds, raw honey, coconut oil, maca powder, dried berries, etc. I wouldn’t consider our habits part of a diet, as I think going on a diet just makes you feel guilty when you cheat, but we do try to eat as mindfully as possible. Sometimes that just means being aware that we’re not consuming the best food ever, but awareness is still valuable! 

Anyway, when we took off to Australia, I tried to cram as much health as I could into our luggage. As many essential oils as would fit in our quart-sized ziploc, baggies of fermented cod liver oil capsules, a to-go container of coconut oil (you can seriously use that stuff for everything). But I couldn’t bring our Vitamix, obviously, and so we ate out a lot. 

After coming home, I thought we’d be back to normal. And spend a week or so detoxing.

But I wasn’t counting on being as jet-lagged as we are, and I forgot that we don’t have any groceries, and there are more important things looming before me (like the mass of sandy laundry stinking up our not-unpacked luggage. Side note–we busted the wheels on all three of our suitcases. What a nightmare).

So here is what, for the past couple of days, we’ve had for breakfast: gluten-free toast smothered in coconut oil, raw honey, and enough chia seeds to make it all super crunchy. Washed down with a cup of maca powdered-OJ.

And you know what? I’m not going to feel guilty about eating toast. It’s fast. It’s not too bad. If we had bananas, I might try chopping one up over the toast, too. Or maybe adding cinnamon–the good kind, no cheapies. To make a long story short, that’s my suggestion if you need a fast brekkie.

Happy diet-cheating, or toast-eating, or whatever you may find yourself doing!