Ok.  This is no picnic - and not just because you could NEVER eat the food that one would typically bring on a picnic - but because I am freaking starving!  Seriously if you want to lose weight - check out this diet eek.  I lost 7 pounds this week (since starting the diet). 

The upside - check out this happy happy baby!  His demeanor, comfort, and personality has relaxed and become SO much happier since the start of this diet.  I can't recommend it enough for anyone who thinks their babe is uncomfortable, screamy and miserable and who is breastfeeding.  Just look at those happy smiles!

Since the start of the diet I have added in one... ok two things.  Oats were the first - no effect on baby E.  Still happy as can be... then last night... I had just finished my dinner and I was SHAKING I was so hungry - so I CAVED.  Not for anything good - just for what was on the table.

Organic grape jelly. 

The old me would have NEVER even touched grape jelly.  Not even if it had fair traded sugar in it.  Not even if it had only organic Concord grapes. 


Because grape jelly is DISGUSTING.  That's why.

I just couldn't bear the thought of one more plain rice cake - so you guessed it - I spread grape jelly on FOUR rice cakes, after dinner, and ate them for dessert.  They tasted like Heaven.  They were gone in under 5 minutes. I am pitiful.

So with that in mind I had to take drastic action.  And I did - making Elimination Diet Turkey dinner for myself.  It was so much for me that I ate it alone, while my family was outside playing.  Then when they came inside for dinner, I ate it again.  Here is what I made:

Elimination Diet Turkey:
 As usual - very few, very simple ingredients!

1 turkey
1 summer squash
1 pear
1 cup pear juice
1 cup turkey broth
olive oil
salt and pepper

I drizzled the turkey with the olive oil, liberally.  I salted and peppered inside and out.  I then roughly chopped and stuffed it with the pear and squash.  In the roasting pan I put the liquids.  I covered it cooked it at 350... and surprise!  It was done an hour early (hence the eating it without my family)... on to the sides...


4 tablespoons of turkey drippings (fat) from the pan
4 tablespoons of rice flour
4 cups of turkey broth (I used the rest of the liquid - without the grease - from the pan as well as the broth I made while the turkey was cooking - just the neck in water simmering)
Lots of salt and pepper

Sprinkle the flour into the turkey drippings in the roasting pan (which should cover two burners on the stove) and whisk briskly.  When flour has been incorporated add broth and whisk until smooth.  Add salt and pepper.  Taste.  Add more.  Switch liquid to smaller pot and simmer until it reaches desired thickness.  Surprisingly this tasted really good with the rice flour.  Either that - or my standards are getting lower.  Think grape jelly.

Smashed Potatoes

4 Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 cup of plain rice milk
salt and pepper

Chop the potatoes (I chopped them up small so they would cook quickly because I couldn't wait).  Boil them until tender, drain, put them back in the same pot.  Add rice milk, salt and pepper and smash away.

Summer Squash and Pears

Turkey roasting pan (after you make the gravy)
2 tbs of turkey fat from the pan
3 summer squashes
1 pear
salt and pepper

Slice up your fruit and veggies and throw them in your turkey pan.  Add salt and pepper and roast until tender and brown.

Sweet Sweet Potatoes

3 sweet potatoes
3 tbs of brown sugar

Skin the sweet potatoes and cook in the microwave for 3 minutes.  When they come out dice them (be careful!) and add brown sugar.  Broil until brown on top.  MMMMM like dessert!

Here's the whole delicious meal:
Doesn't look so bad right?

On a final note - it was particularly hard to pass up this delicious basket of FRESH LOCAL VEGGIES grown at my son's preschool...

The first raffle I ever won... and I can't even eat any of it!!! I did use the summer squash in the recipe above - but other than that it is being devoured by the rest of my family!  YUM! 

Shared at: Petite Hermine, Couponing and Cooking, Homemaker on a Dime, Cooking My Way Through CSA, Gastronomical Sovereignty , Homestead Simple, The Girl Creative, Summo's Sweet Stuff, Frugal Days

Total. Elimination. Diet. 2.

Well this sucks.  I am STARVING.

Even so - I am still trying to create some yummy-ish meals on this elimination diet I am on.

In truthfulness - the baby is a little better.  No more screaming all day - and he is sleeping for longer than 30 minute stretches and definitely NO more screaming from stomach pain - no more back arching - no screaming from gas... so apparently this is worth it :)

The good thing about all of these recipes is that they have very few ingredients, are easy to make, and have no (few) processed elements!

Sweet and White Potato Pancakes
1 Sweet Potato
2 Small or one large White Potato (ours were from the CSA - yum!)
1 cup of "bread crumbs"
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup of olive oil (allowed - I emailed Dr. Sears to ask haha)

Mix all ingredients.  In a hot skillet - pour in half of olive oil and form 5-6 pancakes in the oil.  WAIT.  These have to hold together just on being fried (like hash browns) so don't mess with them.  When one side is brown - flip.  Enjoy with fresh pear sauce (or if you're not on my foolish diet - applesauce)

"Bread" Crumbs
2 cups of puffed rice cereal
4 slices of toasted rice bread (it has few ingredients - none of which were allergenic - no soy, wheat, taste, etc)

Put all ingredients into the food processor.  Process until the ground is to your taste.  For God sakes - if you can - add some flavor.  If not add salt and pepper.  Process again.

Breaded Turkey Cutlets
1 cup of "bread crumbs"
1 turkey breast cut into 5-6 cutlets
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive Oil

Pound out turkey cutlets.  Dredge in breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.  Fry in olive oil.

Pear Sauce
3-4 Fresh peeled pears - from the farmer's market

Steam pears.  Put them into the food processor.  Process adding in some water to reach desired consistency.

It wasn't the worst meal ever :)

Linking to: Frugal Days, Cooking My Way Through CSA, Gastronomical Sovereignty , Homestead Simple

Total. Elimination. Diet.

That's it.

So I have been breastfeeding for 4+ months now since my second son E was born.  About 2 months ago - he got screamy.  Really really screamy.  Like 12+ hours a day screamy.  He is gaining weight fine and is otherwise healthy - but it was clear that he was uncomfortable after eating.  After trying to solve it in other ways, ignoring it, a lot of swaddling and shushing - I decided it was time to step it up.  So I embarked on the Total Elimination Diet - which I have read about through AskDr.Sears.  After a life of cooking with every spice, garlic and onions, tomatoes and every meat you can imagine - my diet for at least two weeks is limited to the list above.  To complicate things - I am at my parents' house.  My parents are not great with dietary restrictions - they love to cook delicious foods and as you will note - everything on the list above is well... not so delicious.  

I can't lie.

I ate a turkey leg for breakfast yesterday.

You can only eat so much rice cereal with no milk and I was starving.

The result of this elimination is hopefully a happier baby and the identification of whatever was making him so miserable.  Since the start of the diet - he has been much better.  After a couple of weeks of just the foods above - you can add foods (one at a time) back into your diet - one every 4 days.

So I am not giving up on yummy food even on the diet - so here is a Total Elimination Shish Kebab recipe - made with homegrown organic zucchini from my garden and local farmers' market pears.

1 cup of organic brown rice
2 cups of turkey stock - flavored only with turkey drippings and salt and pepper

Prepare according to package instructions.

Cut 1 large zucchini in large thin strips
Season with salt and pepper

Grill until crisp

Shish Kebab
1 lb lamb - our cut was from a leg of lamb - all the fat was removed and it was cut into 1 inch chunks
3 pears cut into cubes
1 cup of organic pear juice

Marinate lamb in salt, pepper, and pear juice.  Put chunks of lamb and pear onto skewers alternating pears and lamb.  Grill to desired doneness. 

It actually was prety good... everyone else was eating pizza - homemade - but other than that... it will do! 

I will upate the success of the diet after I have been on it longer.  Has anyone else had experience with this diet?  Link me to some of your favorite recipes.

Linked up to:  Couponing and Cooking, Mom's Test Kitchen, Live Laugh Rowe, Frugal Days, Cooking My Way Through CSA, Gastronomical Sovereignty , Homestead Simple

Walnut Encrusted Salmon

It probably seems like we eat a lot of salmon.  We do.  I can't help it if it's delicious and every time we pass it in the grocery store my 3 year old asks me for it and I cave... so... for this edition of Salmon:

1 Pound(ish) of wild caught Salmon
1/4 cup (divided) of Sweet and Spicy Peach Sauce
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Dredge the salmon in half of the sauce.  Put it skin side down on a broiler pan (I lined mine with tin foil).  Press the walnuts onto the top of the fish.  Bake the fish for about 15 minutes on 400 and then put the broiler on for a minute or two to brown the nuts.  When you serve, drizzle with the remaining sauce and enjoy!

My three year old LOVED it.  I hope you do too!

Sweet and Spicy Peach Sauce

In a desperate attempt to try and finish up the over ripe peaches we picked last week... I created some delicious sweet and spicy peach sauce.  I used it as a marinade and topping for grilled, boneless, organic, pork chops.  Growing up on a dish like this - we would have had Saucy Susan (sounds like a porn star right?) - but nope - just corn syrup, GMO laden poison sauce... eek.  I actually jut looked up the ingredients (I SWEAR I didn't know what was in it until right now writing this... here they are).

Here's what we made - before you start you need a few hours of reducing time - so this is not a fast recipe - but it is worth it I promise:

*Disclaimer... the measurements are estimated as I was really making it up throughout the day

3 peaches
1/4 cup of organic chopped, candied, ginger
2 cups of water (added as the liquid disappears throughout the day)
1 cup of white wine (I used chardonnay)
1 cup of organic apricot nectar
1/2 tsp of chipotle pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsps of ground flax seed (it thickens the sauce)
2 tsps of organic corn starch (mixed with some of the water you add)
2 tsps of brown sugar (I think honey would work as well)

So I put in all the ingredients except the liquids - then just added enough liquid to cover the rest of the ingredients.  Then brought it to a boil and added a bit more liquid and lowered the temp. After about 2 hours (I forgot about it most of the time - but every time I walked through the kitchen I stirred it up and added more liquid) I got out my handy dandy immersion blender and blended it up and added in the rest of the liquid and brought it back to a hard boil and let it reduce a last time.  I marinaded the pork in it and then topped it with some extra.

It was really good and it probably going on salmon tomorrow... and anything else we make for the rest of the week!!

My husband is responsible for the excellent grill marks :)

Easy Cucumber Salad

So last year I shared the hope that we would have a successful backyard garden this year full of organic veggies and boy do we (look at the header you can see it)!  My husband made me a raised garden bed that's full of squash and cucumbers and lots and lots of green tomatoes.  Next year he promises at least one more bed (I am hoping for 3!).

I don't know a whole lot about gardening but we are learning.  The soil we used came from our own compost - grass clippings, kitchen garbage, leaves, etc.  We used some organic fertilizer and I sprinkle coffee grounds (from our organic fair trade coffee) around the tomatoes... I have no idea what I am doing - but so far - success is coming to our garden. 

I no longer wonder why my grandfather made pickles with the cucumbers he grew - boy do they ripen ALL at the same time.  Many times D and I just eat the cucumbers cut in half with a sprinkle of sea salt - but being bored with that I developed this easy cucumber salad in hopes to eat more of them. 


So here you go!

2-3 cucumbers (mine are pretty small)
2 Tbs of chopped sweet onion
2 Tbs of red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp of dill (mine is dried - next year it will be in the garden)
1 tsp of sugar

Combine and enjoy!  It is best made in advance, put in the fridge, and served cold.

Peachy Pizza

There was an abundance of fresh peaches at the Farmer's Market this week.  The peaches were doughnut peaches - and they are small, sweet, and delicious!  So... with that in mind... I made pizza.

1 Batch of Whole Wheat Pizza Dough - I used this one - I incorporated oregano and basil into the dough
3/4 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese
1 ball of fresh mozzarella sliced thin
1/8 cup of goat cheese, crumbled
1 shallot sliced thin
1-3 peaches sliced thin (depending on the size of your peaches)
1 tbs of olive oil
2 tbs of chopped fresh basil
2 tbs of chopped fresh rosemary
sea salt to taste
1 1/2 cups of balsamic vinegar

Pre-heat oven to 400.

Put vinegar in a small saucepan and reduce.  Once it is simmering lower the heat and let it cook down to at least half - it should be much thicker like syrup.  Let cool.

Roll out pizza dough with a floured rolling pin and board/counter.  Press/shape into a non-stick cookie sheet.  Coat with olive oil and sprinkle on sea salt.  Bake on 400 until it is firm and turning a little brown (depending on how crispy you like your pizza).

Take out of the oven and spread on ricotta.  Lay on mozzarella.  Put on peach slices and shallot slices.  Sprinkle on chopped herbs.  Sprinkle on goat cheese.  Put back in the oven until goat cheese is browning.  Slice pizza.  Right before serving drizzle on your balsamic reduction and enjoy!

Shared at: Gastonomical Sovereignty

This post was featured on Cooking My Way Through CSA!

Cheesy Quinoa Bites

I am still a little new to quinoa so I am still trying to figure out how best we like it prepared.  D LOVED this "quinoa tots".  They were cheesy and yummy and packed with good for you stuff!

Here are the ingredients:

4 tbs of ground flax
4 tbs of water (mix with flax and let it sit while you do the rest)

1 cup of quinoa

2 cups of water (or chicken stock)
2 tbs of whole wheat flour
2 tbs of chopped basil
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
1/2 cup (ok maybe more) of grated pecorino romano cheese - divided
1 tbs of onion powder
1 tbs of garlic powder
1 tbs of olive oil
sea salt to taste

Prepare quinoa according to instructions (usually a 1 to 2 ratio).  When the quinoa is finished mix the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl (set aside a bit of the cheese to top each bite).

Put the mixture in a 24 cup, greased, muffin tin and bake for 30 minutes (or until the tops are getting a little brown/the quinoa bites are firm). 

If you are in our house... top with even more cheese and enjoy!

Sicilian Sauce with Eggplant and Tomatoes

My husband and I went to Italy on our honeymoon.  For two weeks we toured all around - Sicily, Sorrento, Rome & Venice.  Having kids is great... but this was the best two weeks of my life!  The food, the wine, the people, the history... so beautiful.  I am SO glad we did it then - because now with two kids I can't envision a time we will be able to go again... I am already worried about a car-ride to VA in September as E screams for even a 5 minute drive :)

During our time in Sicily - what we loved most about the food was the FRESH seafood and the fact that eggplant seemed to be in every sauce.  Growing up in a house that didn't embrace all that eggplant offers - it was new to me and soooo yummy!  With fresh eggplant available this time of year (not from my garden yet... but from the farmers' markets) I have been integrating it into everything!  This recipe turned out really well - and served over Lobster Ravioli - mmmmmm.

Here's the recipe:

2 small or one large eggplant (I used white)
1/4 cup of flour
sea salt
3 tbs of olive oil
3 tbs of butter
2 tbs of tomato paste
1 cup of white wine
1+ cup of water (use your judgement about how much to add)
1 cup of pasta water
2 cups of grape tomatoes cut in half
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of red pepper flakes
2 tbs of Italian seasoning (we have a mix from Italy... from our honeymoon)
1 cup of fresh basil
2 tsp of honey

Dice the eggplant (small) and coat it in flour and salt and pepper.

Fry it in the olive oil and butter (I split both and did it in two batches) - depends on the size of the pan you have :)  It's important to use a pan that some of the brown bits can stick to (a non-non-stick? pan).  It provides some yummy flavor for your sauce.

When your eggplant is browned remove it from the pan and add 2 tbs of tomato paste - fry it for a minute or two - it will stick to the pan - but that is good.  Then add the wine to de-glaze the pan - stir it all around to scrape up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.  Add in a cup+ of water, the tomatoes and the eggplant back to the pan.  Add in spices, honey and half of the basil.

Let the sauce simmer for at least 30 minutes.  Taste frequently and season to taste.  Cook whatever pasta you would like to serve the sauce on.  UNDERCOOK the pasta.  Add a cup of the pasta water to your sauce and then the undercooked pasta.  Let it finish cooking in the sauce... it makes the sauce creamier and the pasta yummier!

Enjoy with Parmesan cheese and the remaining basil sprinkled on top of each serving. 

1/4 cup of the sauce is 2 WW points.  You probably won't even use that much - but it is SO worth it.

Honey Lemon Car Tea

Full disclosure. 

I didn't want to look for the teapot. 

My grandma used to make sun tea all the time when we were little.  I thought it was called sun tea because she let it steep on the sun dial in the yard. 

Mine steeped on the top of my car - Car Tea... and I almost forgot about it. 

3 decaf, organic tea bags
3 cups of water

3+ hours out on the top of the car in the sun!

3 teaspons of honey
3-5 more cups of water (depending on how strong you like your tea)

When I served it (to myself) - I added a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint.

It made my day MUCH  better yesterday - and I plan to enjoy the rest today.

It is NOT toddler approved... he hated it :) 


More for me!

Laundry Day

Just looking at the heaps of divided laundry in my basement makes my back hurt.  To think of lugging it up two flights of stairs and then leaning over my bed to fold it... ugh.

On a lighter note - I decided to make my own fabric softener - this makes me forget about my back and smile - because I feel all crunchy and crafty - two of my favorite... not me... things! 

Here is my recipe:

1 bottle of Organic Trader Joe's conditioner (it was 16.9 oz)
3 cups of white vinegar
6 cups of hot water (from the tap)

I put the conditioner in an old container of fabric softener (it took a lot of squeezing and D loved the "fart" noises the bottle made... a definite toddler activity!)  I then added all the water and shook it up - it took a long time to dissolve... I'm not sure it ever really did - I think I will shake it every time I use it.

Then I poured some of the vinegar into the conditioner bottle and shook it up to get the last bits of conditioner out - added it and the rest of the vinegar into the old softener container and shook it up and danced around the kitchen.

Here are the results:

The laundry is fluffy enough and it does not have a heavy scent.  I may pick up some essential oils and add a few drops to it - if I can manage to get screamy and cranky in the car later... but until then the laundry smells fresh and clean and is soft.  Next time - I may use a little more conditioner for even more softness :)

Prosciutto Wrapped Haddock

4 Points.

That's right!  Prosciutto Wrapped Haddock for FOUR points!

This was yummy, quick, and according to my husband "restaurant quality."

You will need some white fish - buy whatever looks yummy, is cheap, is wild caught and American/Canadian - we used haddock.

Each piece was about 4oz or a little less.
Lay out the fish on a cutting board and drizzle with a smidge of olive oil
Sprinkle some black pepper
Sprinkle a very small amount of cut fresh basil (a little goes a long way here - your fish could taste like prosciutto wrapped basil... which I guess wouldn't be so bad either...)
Wrap each piece of fish in a piece of prosciutto

You do NOT need additional salt - the prosciutto takes care of that for you.

Bake in the oven at 400 for 15-20 minutes or until fish is firm.  While baking make the following lemon butter sauce.

In a sauce pan melt 2 tbs of butter
Add in some fresh thyme and turn the burner off - let the flavors meld
zest half a lemon into the butter
squeeze half of the lemon in the butter

When the fish is done drizzle each portion with a tsp of your lemon butter.  Since it is only really half butter (in each tsp) it is no points unless you put more than a tsp on - which you do not need - it is very flavorful! 

I served it with fresh veggie salad.  Nothing is better than using herbs and veggies that I grew and serving safe and healthy food to my family.


We also had tater tots, they didn't make the picture :)

Fresh Veggie Salad

So last year I vowed to create an organic garden to help feed my family, safely and cheaply - mission accomplished. 

Now I have the challenging task of dealing with...


Lots and lots of zucchini.  I was a fool.  Planted TWO squash plants - how was I to know.  They are so huge that today I realized there was a third growing underneath them.  Sheesh.  We can't keep up with it.  We seriously eat squash everyday for both lunch and dinner.

Zucchini pancakes, grated up in sauce, grated up in burgers, grated up in everything.

This fresh veggie salad was delicious and an easy use for these healthy, fresh, garden veggies.  I used cucumbers and zucchini from the garden and organic tomatoes from Trader Joes (ours are not ripe yet).

So here is the recipe:

1 large zucchini or 2 small sliced in half moons
1 large cucumber or 2 small sliced in half moons
1 1/2 cups of grape tomatoes sliced in half

Now... if you play your Weight Watchers right - really you are just counting points for the olive oil here - so adjust amounts as needed to taste/counting :)  I charged myself one point for the olive oil and honey - but really I am probably over estimating.

olive oil (just a little)
honey (just a little - half a tsp)
balsamic vinegar (maybe 1/4 cup)
LOTS of fresh basil from the garden
sea salt
garlic powder (1/2 tsp)

It was delicious !! - my husband ate the entire bowl (after me and D each had a serving).

Best Bridal Shower Gift!

Today we had a wonderful bridal shower for my future sister in law.  I found the coolest gift to craft for her (via pinterest... where else...). 

The site I found it on is here:  There are some downloads for the tags - but that would be TOO EASY - I needed to find cool fonts and do it on my own :) 

Here is a picture of the completed gift.

First Fight

Wedding Night

First Dinner Party

Christmas Eve

First Anniversary

If I could figure out how to post a word document here - I would... but I am not that techno-savy... if you want it - comment with your email and I will send one along :)

A Year of Dates

For our anniversary this year I gave my husband a Year of Dates.  I got this idea from my sister - who I am sure got it from pinterest... or google... nothing is unique anymore right?  Well in any case - I thought it was such a cute idea I figured I would share the results.  I stayed up late "crafting" (this is about as crafty as this organic mama gets) each month (translation... finding a new font to download and a picture to match...) and facebooking all of my friends pleading for babysitters!  I was pretty pleased with how it turned out!

For July our date will be a night of Scrabble - something we used to play all the time but never have time for anymore!  For August we will be going to dinner and a movie!

September is a VERY busy month for us as we have two weddings and will be traveling for one of them.  I picked a museum to go to with our children and a kid-friendly lunch.  For October we are going to our favorite local farm - Tougas - for apple picking (something that has drastically changed since we have kids... don't pick that apple it is rotten, stop running toward the tractor, etc) - it should be much quieter without the kiddos.

For November I picked his favorite movies (also my least favorite) - Back to the Future.  We are going to do take out and a movie marathon - complete with a new card game!

January is usually pretty snowy (although this past year wasn't) - so thinking about that for January I picked another family activity day.  For this I included a cute new book of kid activities!

We HATE doing the conventional Valentine's Day crap so for February I bought a new cookbook of brunches for us to use and hopefully we can choose a day to cook together.

For March I chose a date that was something we used to do in college.  We used to walk on Newbury St. in Boston all the time - so I picked that!  For April we have been wanting to try our a winery close to where we live that does lunch and picnics in the orchard - so that is the April date.

For May I organized a getaway to our new favorite place - The Attwater in Newport!  Then for the last date I chose a family day in one of our state parks.

Again - I didn't invent this idea - but maybe writing about will inspire you to set some time aside for your family too!

Hop on over to these blogs where - if they are lucky - I'll share this :)     

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