Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Happy Homemaker

All I need is the hot guy out front polishing my car!
 After all the talk this year about cooking chickens, making broth and growing my own veggies, I am sure you are all dying to hear about my next homesteading adventure. Well, wait no more......

As I learn more about food and health I spend more (too much) time thinking about how things are effecting my body. And more (way too much) time thinking about what makes up the things I am buying/eating. But, it seems there is actually a plus side to this obsessing. It seems it is actually very easy to make things yourself AND these things might actually taste exponentially better than the crap you buy at the store.

I had some free time this weekend so, in addition to writing TWO BLOGS, I did a little food experimenting.

Mayonnaise.  Anyone who knows my family, or at least has eaten fish with my family, knows about our love affair with mayonnaise. Next to popcorn, it was my dad's favorite food. He always 'fixed' his mayonnaise. This involved lots of lemon juice and spices.  And then he ate it, lots of it on crackers, on potato chips, with cottage cheese. A reunion of his family this summer involved large vats of tartar sauce (essentially fixed mayonnaise) on fish.  And it was mighty tasty. 

But, have you ever actually read the ingredients of a mayonnaise jar?  Most of the stuff in there you just do not want to eat. Even the happy 'healthy' kinds from the expensive yuppy stores.  Well, it seems you can make olive oil mayonnaise in the blink of an eye!  Olive oil, egg, mustard power, lemon and a blender and pow (or whirr)!  Delicious!  (The only catch was waiting for the egg to reach room temperature. After my waiting patiently for 4 hours, my egg calmly rolled itself off the counter rather than be a part of my culinary adventure. And neither Otto nor I nor all the king's horses could save that poor egg. )

Yogurt. Many of the books I have been reading lately tout the benefits of fermented food. But, much like mayo, if you go looking for yogurt in the regular stores you get.... Well first of you get dairy which I don't eat, but secondly you get lots of words that I don't even understand.  And I'm tired of eating words I don't understand. But fortunately, it seems if you want to eat fermented food you can grow bacteria in the comfort of your own home.

Coconut milk yogurt was today's adventure.  And I wish I could tell you that it was delicious, but unfortunately, yogurt is a painfully slow adventure. My bacteria are currently duplicating in the back room.  I can tell you my genius for of the day. It seems to grow cultures properly you need to keep them at about 110 degrees.  With that news, I was about to give up my yogurt plans when suddenly I realized that the 'professional greenhouse' I used to grow my plants this spring might be the perfect tool for yogurt. So my coconut milk is sitting on the plant heating pad. (I think this ingenuity probably multiplies my homemaker status).  Anyhow, keep your fingers crossed!

    If it looks anything like this, I'll be in heaven (and probably ready to quit my day job)!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Double dipping is just rude!

An expert concerned about the double dip.

Well, much to the excitement of all of you, today we are going to be talking recession!  I seem to have some confusion I need to work through. I spend time listening to NPR and trying to stay up on world affairs. And everything sounds terrible. But are we in a recession?

Here's what the news tells me. Every time NPR mentions recession, they quickly pull out an expert. This expert always has one of three opinions.
  1. We are already in a recession (Yes, the dreaded DOUBLE DIP is always mentionned!)
  2. We are not currently in a recession, but we're our the way there (NO, don't DOUBLE DIP).
  3. Things are bad, but we'll pull out. (This is the one I always tend to believe.)
So that's the 'truth' according to the experts. But, as you can see, it doesn't actually tell me anything.

Here's my layman's view point. Every time I go out to eat in Seattle I am amazed by the number of people out spending lots of money.  Restaurants that I consider expensive are packed.  In fact they are so packed that for the first time in my forty plus (ack) years in Seattle reservations are required.  I kid you not. I have never worried about reservations in Seattle, but suddenly you need them or you're not eating. And I'm not necessarily talking a Friday or Saturday night, these places are packed all week!  Does this sound like a recession?

So then I think, maybe Seattle is just lucky. But, I work for a large national retailer and sales are great.  Sales are great not just in Seattle, but all over the country. Again, confusion.

So, I don't know the answer. But I've been thinking about it a bit lately. If you listen to the news, we should all be saving our pennies and stocking up on ramen. But in life, well it's just regular life.  So, double dip?  Will the 2008 crisis be back soon?  Or maybe I should just go spend some money and help the US avert the worst. But, I am pretty sure, if I hear the expression Double Dip on more time, I just might scream.       

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Counting to Ten

 Happy and healthy (or something)

Just for the fun of it, I thought we would do my week in numbers.

One. The number of times Daisy got bitten by another cat.  I think cat bites/fights are pretty common for those of us terrible pet owners who let our cats wander outside. But Daisy always been a pacifist. And I think on Sunday she wasn't fighting, but running for her life. Post bite, she spent the day lying in one place panting and hissing at me if I came within sight. It was very sad and traumatic for us all and led to .....

Two. The number of times Daisy went to the vet this week. This would also be the number of times Daisy has gone to the vet in the last 11 years.  This I distinctly remember because in 2000 I broke my collar bone and something happened to Daisy.  I had to drive her to the vet with my broken collar bone and my non power steering/manual shift car.  Then, I had to give her daily medicine with one arm.  Again, traumatic for all.  Daisy doesn't go down often, but when she does she goes big. Oh, but current vet trip. She's been on antibiotics and possible surgery watch if infection set in, but seems to be healing nicely.  Phew, only $150 and not $$$$$.

Three. Moving off Daisy for a  minute.  There are other events in my week. Three is not only the magic number, but the number of birthday parties I am going to this weekend.  What's up with September and Birthdays?  Oh, New year's eve?

Four. This is an exciting one.  The number of folders I set up on my IPhone.  My apps are now carefully organized.  It doesn't get any better than that.

Five. The hour during which I have been waking up all week, whether I need to or not. Now that I regularly crossfit in the am, my body (and pets) seem to have decided that 5-5.30 is the perfect time to get up. But you know what, it's NOT!

Six. This is a big one.  SIX is the number of days I managed to not eat (not even taste) and barely even think about an open and 1/2 eaten bar of chocolate that was sitting in my desk drawer at work. I am sure this is some kind of record and I should probably call Guinness.

Seven (ish). The number of rope climbs I did early one morning. Really, nothing says good morning like a 20 foot rope climb. The workout actually called for ten rope climbs, two climbs in each of five rounds. I was fine doing on the first climb but then would get about 3/4 of the way up on the second and decide it was time to come down. I was pretty proud of the 7 (ish) but next time it needs to be all 10!

Eight. The number of times I rode my bike to and from work.

Nine. I am sure I did nine of something this week, but I can't think of what that might have been. 

Ten. One a scale of one to ten, with one being deathly ill and ten being bright eyed and bushy tailed, ten is how Daisy looks today compared to a week ago.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Are You Kidding Me???

This blog could also be titled, it's way too hard to be me.

I'm reading a new book about primal living and how to keep it real like our ancient ancestors. It's an interesting book, though I think the author has hyped things up a bit. Every chapter she brings up a new topic - gluten, soy, fats etc etc, - and talks about how terrible each is, all the crazy things it makes your body do, and all the ways it will kill you. And while I personally believe most of what she is saying, I think the tone of her book would probably turn most people off pretty quickly.

Anyhow, I'm not going to spend the ENTIRE blog just writing about a book none of you have read. Instead I'm going to talk about gluten and my hair (or I guess more specifically my scalp).  Hello!

So, about three years ago I stopped eating gluten. I'm not sure I'm allergic, but definitely 'intolerant'. And over the last few years I have found my body is much happier without a daily chocolate chip cookie fix. So I figured with gluten (and various sundry other things) gone, I was happy and healthy.

About a year ago I found out all the terrible things (toxins, cancer causing drugs etc) that are put in many sun screens and cosmetics products. I promptly went to and looked up all my products, only to find out that  most of them are leeching terrible toxic sludge into my body (your skin being the largest organ absorbs all kinds of shit it is exposed to).  Some things I adjusted. Some things I decided I couldn't care about and life when on (and I mostly blissfully forgot).

And then I'm reading this book - all cocky because I'm thinking I don't eat gluten, so I'm good -  and come to find out that beauty products have gluten in them and if I'm sensitive to gluten, well guess what, MY SHAMPOO IS KILLING ME.  Yes, I jumped out of bed, and looked at the labels on my conditioner and shampoo and they BOTH have wheat protein. As you can imagine, I didn't sleep so well that night.

The next day I rushed to to Whole Foods and Madison Market, thinking they'd have happy shampoo bottles, sparklingly label 'gluten free'. But no, not only are there no gluten free labels, but all the shampoos there (the ones that I can actually read the ingredients) all have wheat in them too!  And half the stuff in those bottles, who even knows what they are. And yes, you can go online and find gluten free hair care products, but who even knows what else I innocently contact on a daily basis that is killing me through my skin! Car exhaust (duh), clothes?, computers?, the new rubber strap I bought to help stretch, the water Otto drinks from the street after a rainfall?  

Holy Guacamole!  What's an overly conscientious, health  obsessed citizen to do?