Are you in on the craze of the season? Just stop. Please.

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Are you in on this Hatchimal craze?

I’m not. My kids are not. And if they were, I’m afraid that they would be sorely disappointed. Because Christmas is NOT about getting the latest fad or the most expensive doodad. It’s about sharing time with your family, giving gifts that hold true value to the recipient, not just over-advertised, over-hyped and over-priced poorly made and likely soon-to-be recalled pieces of garbage.

Sound harsh? Yup. I probably am. But I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle to raise good humans, people who care more about other people and the world we live in than they do STUFF.

A lot of people pay lip service to raising kids with manners, a lot of people complain about the quality of education their children are receiving, a lot of people are so worried about keeping their children HAPPY, that they are not actually doing anything to prepare their children for reality.

The reality that people are not ALWAYS happy. That not everybody is going to give you what you want. That sometimes people say NO and you need to accept that and move forward, not throw a fit or fall apart. The reality is that you really can’t always get what you want, but, if you try sometimes, you just might find, you’ll get what you need.

And yes, I realize that I am quoting The Rolling Stones to try to get my point across, but hey, they had it right. So why fight it?

Fussy eater making you crazy? Try these and watch the magic happen.

Generally speaking, I won the kid lottery when it comes to eating. For the most part, my kids eat what I make and don’t complain too much. Notice the ‘too’ in that sentence. I mean, sure, Deacon may gag and dry heave at those chunks of tomato in the gorgeous sauce I serve with spaghetti and meatloaf may have the power to turn his sunny mood positively foul and Paxton may burst into tears if his food is so much as kissed by ketchup, but overall, they’re all good and will power through whatever I’m serving.

But, I am also well aware that not all parents are so lucky. So many, no, too many parents have a daily battle on their hand with a picky eater and by the sounds of it, kids today are taking being picky to Olympian heights.

And I’m a helper. And a bit of a foodie. But also kind of an asshole. So I took it upon myself to seek out alternatives that make WHATEVER you are serving suddenly become the best thing ever.

Without further ado, may I suggest:

1. Forget Roadkill cuisine. Try this instead.

Not just any possum in a can. Oh no. This is CREAMED possum in a delectable COON FAT gravy and delicately garnished with sweet potatoes. Yummy.

Not just any possum in a can. Oh no. This is CREAMED possum in a delectable COON FAT gravy and delicately garnished with sweet potatoes. Yummy.

2. He can count by twos and tie his shoes…

Not feeling the possum? Looking for lighter fare on a chilly fall evening? Well, step on over and grab your bowl of Ready-to-Serve REAL TURTLE SOUP. Mmmmm. Franklin. Double Yum!

Not feeling for possum tonight? Or maybe looking for lighter fare on a chilly fall evening? Well, step on up and grab your bowl of Ready-to-Serve REAL TURTLE SOUP. Mmmmm. Franklin. Double Yum!

3. Pasta with an identity crisis with a side of Oh God.

No? Resistant to the possum AND the turtle. Well, fine then. How about a wonderful plate of Tenderoni?

No again? Resistant to the possum AND the turtle? Well, fine then. How about a wonderful plate of Tenderoni and liverwurst? The kids will devour it, everybody loves it and hell, it saves work, worry, time and money. It’s a miracle in a box, really.

4. Chiquita’s outfit isn’t the only thing that’s slammin’ here.

The perfect storm is this. Right here. You've got your fruits, protein, and dairy groups all present and accounted for. That they look like little displaced penises will only make mealtime more jovial.

The perfect storm is this. Right here. Ham Banana Rolls. They give the ham top billing, but really, we all know that the bananas are the star of this show. You’ll be serving your little humans a full serving of fruit, protein, and dairy all in one convenient roll. For good measure, the Chiquita Banana sweetens the deal by adding some prepared mustard to the meal. That the end result looks like little displaced penises will only make mealtime more jovial. I mean, kids love bananas and anything to do with bums and burps. Really, this is a meal primed for hours of dining hilarity.

5. Only if I can follow it up with kidney pie and haggis, please.

I don't know about your house. But around here, we can't get enough of that organ soup. Mmmm. Mmmm. Good. Now, the Libby's isn't quite as good as the Campbell's, but in a pinch, the kids will suck this back like you've just passed them an ice cold beer on a hot summer day. Except, you wouldn't do that. Because that would be wrong. And we all know that. We also know that there is not a kid around who would touch this soup with his brother's mouth.

I don’t know what is a popular go-to meal at your house. But around here, we can’t get enough of animal organ soup. Mmmm, mmmm, sumptuous. Now, the Libby’s isn’t quite as good as the Campbell’s, but in a pinch, the kids will suck this one back like  an icy beer on a hot summer day. Except, we wouldn’t let them do that. Because that would be wrong. And we all know that. And while we’re busy be honest, we also all know that there is not a kid around who would touch this soup with her brother’s mouth and her sister’s stomach.

6. Bodacious breasts and a meal? Oh yes, please!

Now, this one wouldn't normally make any list I would make in relation to kids, except that right at the end of the product description, it saves itself from omission by adding these two little words: "Or Food."

Now, this one wouldn’t normally make any list I would make in relation to kids, except that right at the end of the product description, it saves itself from omission by adding these two little words: “Or Food.” So, I suppose that this is really just an all-around superfood. See, Mom rubs this cream on her chest to irritate the fuck out of her boobs, causing them to swell. This makes Dad happy (which once her boobs hurt, Mom could care less about and actually makes her feel quite stabby, thus leading her to suggest that Dad feck off and go rub some on himself – whether he accepts the challenge will vary from family to family). But the children? Well, the children, sweet and innocent that they are, still must eat. Having used the cream once and suffered the painful, swollen side effects, Mom decides to take Sears up on their claim and feeds it to the family for dinner, possibly spread on Ritz. Because after all, it is “Bust Cream or Food.” Nothing like a plate of trauma pie for dinner.

7. Potatoes? Yes. Fudge? Hell, Yes. This? Oh no.

Ah, feck it. Just bake them a potato (don't worry if they hate potatoes, we have a plan) then crack open your jar of Potato Fudge and drop a big 'ol spoonful all over it.

Ah, feck it. Just bake them a potato (don’t worry if they hate potatoes, we have a plan) then crack open your jar of Potato Fudge and drop a big ‘ol “swirl” all over it. Is it good for them? Who knows. Kraft brought out both chocolate or butterscotch flavours, and in true Kraft fashion, even provide you with a few recipes to choose from. Fudge Nugglets anyone?

8. Enough people enjoyed this enough that it needed to be canned and marketed?

Still crying because your delicious Lasagna casserole is yucky? NO PROBLEM! Just crank open a can of new and improved Buzzard Gizzards (in a cream sauce, of course), and watch the tears fade away. They won't be able to gobble this up fast enough!

Are they still crying because your delicious Lasagna casserole is icky? NO PROBLEM! Just crank open a can of new and improved Buzzard Gizzards (in a cream sauce, of course), and watch their tears fade away. They won’t be able to gobble this up fast enough!

9. Ugh. Oh, and for the record, fish don’t have fingers.

Fish sticks are yucky and make you hide under your chair? Gotcha covered, small human. Sit on up here and dig into your delicious SPAM Sticks. Because nothing says yummy like tinned meat fried up nice and rectangular.

Fish sticks are yucky and make you hide under your chair? Gotcha covered, small human. Sit on up here and dig into your delicious SPAM Sticks. Because nothing says yummy like tinned meat fried up nice and rectangular.

10. Time to lube up those arteries and veins, kids! Have at it!

You know what? Just forget it. Picky eaters are just more determined, have longer stamina and know our weak points. Just throw it all aside and let 'em eat butter. Lots and lots of butter. Because 'butter is slippery' just like these little con artists crying into their broccoli are slippery. They have no idea how good they have it with the meals you're offering up.

Yes. This. Finally. This should solve just about everything. Quit pushing all of those fruits, veggies and whole grains and just let ’em eat butter. Lots and lots of butter. Because ‘butter is slippery.’ Much like these little con artists who crying into their broccoli that they are ‘full and can’t eat anymore’ only to turn around five minutes later and ask for a cookie because they’re “sooooo hungry!”

So, go ahead. Offer up a few of these bad boys and watch your kids beg for your ‘noodle surprise casserole’ or extra cauliflower. Because once they understand that possum and liver soup are on deck, it makes what’s in front of them so much better!

#ParentingWins

They love me because I feed them. Meh. I’ll take it.

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone. I was spoiled with breakfast in bed (adventures in the kitchen for Mr. K.B. and the smalls – so yeah, it turns out, waffle irons don’t live forever ????), countless precious and priceless home and school made gifts and cards, and even a much-needed and appreciated visit from my own mother. (Quick aside: Happy Mother’s Day, Mum! I’m sorry I was such a ????head when I was a teenager. It was definitely not you. It was me.)

And as the day came to a close, and I put my four youngest babes to bed, I decided to revisit some of my gifts and proclamations of love from the day. To my surprise, there was a common theme throughout, which, put simply was: “I love you because you feed me.”

My Golden Ticket from Deacon ????????

My Golden Ticket from Deacon ????????

So very, very Deacon ????

So very, very Deacon ????

I guess I have set the bar pretty low if, by merely feeding them, I have achieved “best mommy in the hole galixey” status.

One of the few times when I could care less about spelling ????

One of the few times when spelling does not count ????

Were they grasping for something nice to say or does the sum total of my mothering skills amount to short-order cook? Hmmmm. Could be worse, I say.

Mason design me my own Pokemon card. You'll notice that I'm still serving up the grub. Even fictional me feeds the children.

Mason designed me my own Pokemon card. You’ll notice that I’m still serving up the grub. Even fictional me feeds the children.????????

And just in case anyone forgot about the importance of food...

And just in case anyone forgot about the importance of food…

I tend to (over) credit myself with wearing many, many different hats during the course of any given day in order to meet the needs of my family. As it turns out, I can shelve the various hats or just trade them for a hair net.

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Paxton appreciates that I feed him healthy food. ???????? Poor kid. Have him brainwashed entirely, I suppose. ????

Paxton appreciates that I feed him ‘helthy food’. ???????? My poor Pax. Have him brainwashed entirely, I suppose. ????

And last but not least, from Declan, who for the first time in my recollection, did not mention food. Not even once. ???? I hope he's not coming down with something. ????

And last but not least, from Declan, who for the first time in my recollection, did not mention food. Not even once. ????
Geez. I hope he’s not coming down with something. ????

So. This is my life. It may not be glamorous. It may not be jet-setting. It may not be the envy of those around me. But goddamn it, there is food and plenty of it (everyday even. Just ask my kids).

It’s time to change my relationship with food. Ugh.

Coming out of a three-day long headache, I was met with the realization that I have some changes to make and for once, they are not to my personality. No. It’s time to come up with a fitness/diet/don’t-be-such-a-slug plan so that I never again have to endure the embarrassment and pain of hearing one of my kids tell me that I look like I ‘have a baby in there’ while patting my un-pregnant stomach (which, for the record, is big but does not protrude or hang down, is NOWHERE near my lady garden or knees and is still not bigger than my boobs. TMI? I don’t care. It needed to be cleared up in order to proceed).

Aside from sparing myself from the mortifying truth of looking pregnant while not actually being pregnant, I do actually want to live for a very, very long time (I’m a glutton for punishment, go figure). And it would seem that I have children who, like it or not, need me and will continue to need me well into adulthood. Not because I’m planning to raise them to be incompetent nincompoops but rather that despite what my teenage-self thought, we always need our parents around. Even when they drive us crazy. Even when we want to throttle them. Even when we move away and don’t see them every day. We need them and we need to know that they are okay. So, it’s my job to live as healthy a life as possible so that my kids know that I’m okay and will be there for them — whether to drive them crazy or help them out of a jam.

It was this line of thinking that lead me to figure out that what I need to do is break up with  my shitty eating habits and find a new way to relate to food that will not end up killing me as soon. And that lead me to think that my best bet may be to start eating the way I feed my smalls. Which lead to thinking that the very best idea would probably be to just eat exactly what I feed one of them in a day. Since none of them drink pop (and I’ve been known to hurt a Diet Pepsi or two during the course of a day), they all eat breakfast every morning, the majority of their snacks are fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and popcorn, I would,  by my estimation, lose weight (way fewer calories) and I would be healthier (by default even as they eat very little to no sugar, sweets or over-processed food on a normal day).

But can I do that? Could this be a real thing that I could do? I mean, has the answer to feeling better, looking better, having more energy and managing my weight been right here the whole time and I’ve been too blinded by fads, popular advice and other people’s opinions to see it? ????

I feed my smalls a very healthy diet (my eldest son is making his own food choices and those are outside of my control – ugh)????. As a family, we do sometimes order pizza. We do sometimes eat fast food. But the majority of the time, my kids eat real food, prepared by me using ingredients that I carefully choose. Their school lunches are not packaged in a factory or found in the frozen food aisle and almost never contain ingredients that I cannot pronounce. Their dinners almost always are 80% vegetables, and yes, they eat meat, but not in obnoxious, artery clogging amounts.

So, then question becomes, why has it not occurred to me to feed myself this well?

I suppose that I hide behind being an adult (and yes, I am using that term very loosely. The chronological definition really). I hide behind the excuse that my body is already “contaminated” from years of sugar, sweeteners, fat and chemicals. I hide behind the science that shows that detox diets just do not work. I hide away from the truth that I use food to self-sooth and manage my emotions. I use food to mask my feelings, to help me to feel happy when I can, confirm for myself that I’m no good when I need to and  entertain me when I’m bored. ????

I use food for everything except what it’s meant for, which is to keep me alive and my brain and body functioning and strong. Like my kids are and I hope continue to be. So, I’m going to take the next few days to wrap my head around this, iron out the kinks, figure out the rules and get myself mentally prepared to eat like a seven-year-old with a  killer metabolism and a strong attachment to raw fruit and vegetables.

Who knows? May could end up being the month I finally shed my ????slug exterior and interior and graduate into something closer to an ant ????. Those things are stupid strong and able to do all kinds of smart shit. And if being an ant is out of reach, I’ll settle for finalizing my

But just in case I fail to metamorphosize, I’m keeping Pizzaville on speed dial. ????????

#SlugNoMore #WhatIfWeAllAteWhatWeFeedOurKids #WouldWeEatBetterOrWorse? #RaisingHealthyHumans #EatLocal #EatReal

Giving up organic milk

I have wavered back and forth on the organic milk issue for years. For the most part, I did not buy organic milk because the cost is more than twice that of regular milk. But in the last few months of 2015, I switched the family over to a more organic based diet and that included organic milk. And wowzers! Did my grocery budget scream in pain. With four growing children and two grown men in the house, the milk consumption, at times, is unreal and as we rolled into 2016 with the increasing food prices, I have had to re-evaluate my choices somewhat.

Yesterday afternoon, I was speaking with a friend, who feeds her young family more organically than I, and she said that she has never bothered with organic milk in Canada because regulations in Ontario dictate that our dairy farmers are not permitted to give our bodicious Ontarian bovines hormones or antibiotics. If medications are necessary then the cow in question is removed from the production line for a period of time until an ‘all clear’ sample is obtained. Hmmmmm. This makes a difference in my assessment of the situation (and may make a BIG difference to my grocery budget).

So much of the information we receive is American, where they have different laws and food safety standards. Here in Ontario, there is a wealth of information available on the Dairy Farmers of Ontario website. Links to provincial regulations, standards and farming-related issues are published for all to read.

A few things to keep in mind, when deciding if you’re going to purchase regular or organic milk (at least in Ontario), are:

1. Milk is the most heavily safety-tested food in the Canadian food supply system. Ontario dairy farms are inspected regularly under Dairy Farmers of Ontario Raw Milk Quality Program to ensure that Ontario milk meets provincial standards. Inspectors ensure that all surfaces and equipment are clean and that milk is cooled efficiently. Inspectors also look for Grade A management practices such as good cow housing, sufficient pasture area and exclusion of milk from cows that are being treated for illness with drugs or antibiotics. (DFofON website)

and:

Other jurisdictions permit the use of synthetic hormones to meet market needs [which is not allowed under Canadian regulations]. Instead, Ontario’s dairy system meets the highest safety and quality standards in the world, while ensuring farmers can reinvest in safety to produce efficient, high-quality dairy products that other dairy systems simply do not provide. (DFofON website)

and finally:

In dairy farming, medication is only used if it is required to treat a specific illness. When dairy animals become ill, the problem is diagnosed and, with the help of a veterinarian, a treatment program is established. Her milk is discarded since it is illegal to sell or offer for sale any milk that contains antibiotics or other pharmaceuticals, and she is milked separately from the rest of the herd until she has complied with strict withdrawal periods for her specific medication.

In Canada, there is a stringent dairy inspection program in place to test milk. Samples are taken at each farm for quality and composition. As well, each truckload is tested for antibiotics at the dairy. Any milk that does not pass the test is discarded immediately and any producer whose milk is found to contain antibiotics faces heavy financial penalties. (Facts and Figures on the DFofON website)

So, right now (and this could change tomorrow because – over thinking issues and then changing my mind is my speciality) I am going to return to buying regular Ontario produced milk, bypass the organic milk option and expense and not purchase (the much less expensive) milk next time we grocery shop in the U.S.

Just a little love note my Paxton gave me last year. Seeming a fitting addition to this post ????

Just a little love note my Paxton gave me last year. Seems a fitting addition to this post ????

Have I been doing it wrong or are they doing it wrong? My world is upside down now. How do you do it? No, not that it.

One of the things that I enjoy about going over the border to the US is that it gives me the opportunity to tour through American grocery stores and snag amazing deals and products that I just cannot get here in Canada. I love going to Aldi whenever I’m in the US. I would love going to Whole Foods and Trader Joe, but I haven’t found those in Buffalo, yet. (I’m sure the stores are there, but our GPS is woefully out-of-date.) But back to Aldi, I find that their prices are generally great and it has rare to find a product that is not as good, if not better than the pricier, brand name equivalent. But there have been exceptions. This newest one is the most disturbing one so far though. Because it awakens in me all kinds of insecurities and conspiracy theories that I spend quality waking hours fighting to deny. Thanks, America.

The problem: I may have been doing raisins wrong for all of these years. How is that even possible? Am I getting mind-fucked by Corporate America (Like I really need them toying with my already fragile mind, right?)? I present the photographic evidence:

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image 1st image: Southern Grove, Aldi’s brand, purchased in the USA. 2nd image: Sun-Maid Raisins, purchased at Costco in Canada.

And why, if both of these companies are claiming to sell California raisins, why do the Sun-Maid ones taste so much better? Why does the Aldi packaging go on and on about no added sugar? And why the need to announce “100% real fruit” in its own text bubble on a canister of raisins? What else would a package of ‘California Raisins’ contain? Just stating that on the packaging makes me think there’s all kinds of stuff in that canister other than raisins. But the really real question, and the heart of my despair is this: Just WHO, exactly, is refrigerating raisins?!? Are people doing this? Is this a thing? Have I been haphazardly storing our raisins in the cupboard, just begging for disaster? Who do I believe? Aldi, a European-owned chain in the USA or Sun-Maid, an US owned company who imports their product into Canada, so must meet Canadian standards. I’m telling you, I am in utter anguish.

And this, my friends, this is an excellent example of why I do better hiding under my desk with a bar of chocolate, a bag of chips, a good book and my iPad. The outside world and I just can’t seem to get in sync. Under my desk, I can selectively avoid these types of life-altering disasters.

 

Don’t forget to come and hang out with me on FacebookInstagram or Twitter. Some thoughts or moments make it to all four sites, others only exist on the site I post them on, so make sure you’re not missing out on anything (rants, updates, cute moments and homicidal-like rages), like or follow along on those sites too. ????
~A

Whole Wheat and Honey Sandwich Bread – Recipe

This past holiday season, I rediscovered my passion for baking bread and NOT spending money on chemical-laden, mass-produced, over-priced bread at the grocery store. So, in a nutshell, I rediscovered my intense carb-addition and my frugal grooviness at the same time, and I found them both at Wal-Mart. That place really does have everything. Um, or maybe not.

Anyway, I have not taken step-by-step pictures of this recipe, but it’s pretty straight forward and forgiving (I mean, it forgives me constantly), so we should be good to go with just the recipe, straight up. I’ll do my best to answer any questions that come up though, just leave your question in the comments. ???? I will tell you that I do all of my mixing and most of my kneading using my KitchenAid stand mixer and dough hook. I’m just a wimp that way. Also, I do not have a record of where I first found this recipe, but I’ve changed it a bit here and there over time to make it work better for me.

Now get into my tummy before I switch back to a raw foods diet again. Nom, nom, nom.

Now get into my tummy before I switch back to a raw foods diet again. Nom, nom, nom.

Whole Wheat and Honey Sandwich Bread (makes 2 scrumptious loaves)

Ingredients:

2 1/3 cups of warm water (110 – 115F)
4 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled (can substitute coconut or other oil for the butter)
4 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp yeast (or two of those little packages of yeast, which makes 1Tbsp + 1/2tsp)
2 1/2 tsp sea salt (adjust to taste, but do leave some salt in the recipe, the yeast needs it)
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (give or take).

Directions:

  1. Combine one cup of the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, yeast and salt into the bowl of a mixer.
  2. Add warm water, honey and butter/oil. Mix on low-speed until combined. The on medium speed for about three minutes.
  3. Add the remaining two cups of whole wheat flour and the all-purpose flour (a cup at a time) and mix, using your dough hook attachment, until the dough is no longer sticky – when it comes away from the sides of the bowl cleanly, you’re good. Knead in the mixer until smooth and elastic – about five minutes or so.
  4. Take out the dough hook and cover the dough, in the bowl with a damp tea towel. Let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes (an hour if your house, like mine, is chilly).
  5. Punch the dough down, divide it in half and roll each half out into a rectangular shape. Roll each half of the dough up and place in a well-greased 9×5 inch bread pan. Rolling the dough will give your bread a nicer crumb, better structure and make your loaves look purty.
  6. Cover the loaves with a damp tea towel (again) and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes (or 45 minutes in a chilly place), or until doubled.
  7. Bake in your preheated (because you read ahead – aha!) oven (350F) for 30 minutes. Since tapping the bottom of loaves baking in a bread pan is cumbersome and dare I say it, impossible, you could use an instant read thermometer into the long side of the loaves. Fully baked bread should be 205F. Turn out of the pans and cool on a wire rack. Slice and serve!
Freshly sliced bread. This is only half a loaf though, since the other half was quickly and savagely consumed.

Freshly sliced bread. This is only half a loaf though, since the other half was quickly and savagely consumed.

P.S. My spellcheck is acting up again. I’m not entirely sure why, but it wants you to use a ‘doe hook’ to mix your bread. But I said, “No way, screw you, Spellcheck. We are NOT using a ‘doe hook’ on this blog. Not today!” So now I’m not sure if my spellcheck is a carb hater or an animal hater, but either way, it looks like I will need to remain vigilant about monitoring any and all changes and dropping the hammer liberally on the pro-offered suggestions. Never trust your spellcheck. I’m fairly certain it’s just out to get you and will mess up everything you type. Probably on purpose.

~A.

I am a little bit obsessed (or is that possessed?). Again.

I’m obsessed with way too many things, and unfortunately almost none of them are things that will make me skinny, rich or admired by millions. But obsessed I am, nonetheless. Today, my obsession is back in full force for homemade bread – the good kind, not the quicky no-knead bread (which is very tasty, don’t get me wrong, but is lacking in fibre and other nutrients due to its white flour base).

I find that there are so many things that I want to do, try, make, eat, wear, write, or otherwise experience that I get overwhelmed and default to doing nothing more than my ordinary necessary-to-keep-body-and-soul-together tasks. But then thankfully something always happens that kicks me in the teeth and spurs me into action again. This time, I simply went grocery shopping (ordinary and necessary) and while reaching for yet another loaf of bread to toss into the shopping cart, I realized that I was feeling quite annoyed at the thought of having to spend money on bread. Knowing that one store-bought loaf lasts exactly one day around here if everyone here has a sandwich for lunch or toast for breakfast. And on sale, the best I can do for a healthier bread is $2.00 a loaf which can easily translate into over $10 a week for bread alone and this is while 4/5 of my kids are still aged 11 and under. ????

And then my synapses woke with a start and began to fire on all cylinders. I quickly did the math and decided that I really do not want to spend over $500 a year on bread (and that is only for sandwich bread and does not include buns, rolls, english muffins, bagels, etc.) when I have everything that I need, including the ability, to bake quite lovely loaves at home with only the tiniest amount of commitment. So that is what I did. I baked bread. Twice now in the past two weeks. And I must admit, I have no regrets.

Now get into my tummy before I switch back to a raw foods diet again. Nom, nom, nom.

Now get into my tummy before I switch back to a raw foods diet again. Nom, nom, nom.

And that, my friends, is how I live my crazy life just barely clinging to the edge of law and order. It is how I stay adventurous and just that little bit too fluffy and curvy in all the right places. Frugality and baked goods. Now you know my secret.

If anyone wants the recipe, I can totally post it. I bake it in the oven, but I’m sure it could work in a bread machine as well?

So far, this whole 2016 thing is off to a smashing start. I just refuse to be tamed, apparently. ????

I no longer so much object to being fat, but I do object to these three fat’ish issues

Having been overweight (real or imagined) just about all of my life, I’ve pretty much come to terms with being the ‘funny’ one or the ‘smart’ one and not the ‘so-adorably-tiny-let-me-keep-you-in-my-pocket’ one or the ‘so-thin-and-fit-that-the-perfection-is-almost-painful’ one.

And you know what?  I’m good with it.  It has taken a few (will not admit how many) decades, but I’m finally in a place where I accept myself as I am and figure that I’m not so bad.  I accept my cellulite, my jiggly bits, my non-supermodel hair and skin, my freckles (all eleventy billion of them), my deviated septum (accepted but still getting that shit straightened out – accepting it is all fine and dandy but not being able to breathe, well, that pushes the limits of my tolerance).  I’ve finally accepted that my body in whatever shape it is in, at any given moment in time, is just fine. Now, I’m not a fat activist and I don’t pretend to be one. I’m merely one woman, who is a daughter, wife, and mother that has struggled and dealt with weight issues all my life. I’ve seen the fat cloud from both sides now.

And all that said, it turns out that being “fat”, in and of itself does not bother me.  But these three things irritate the holy ever-loving double chocolate cheesecake out of me.

1.  That I have never been able to find a pair of knee-high boots to fit my legs. I see other women, both my size and larger (by a lot!) wearing this style of boot ALL THE TIME. I see chicas tipping the scales at 300 pounds wearing sexy or jaunty knee-high leather boots. And it pisses me right off.  I think that I use anger to avoid dealing with my deep-seated feeling of jealousy. I do not believe that being fat is the problem (after all, they are fat as well).  Rather, I’ve convinced myself that I have an innate leg disadvantage that no amount of dieting or exercise will overcome. The rest of the first world population has skinny, boot-zipper-overable calves, and I just do not. But I’m not horribly disfigured either. They look perfectly normal, not tree-trunkish or stump-like at all. It is patently unfair. And before you tell me that if I lost weight, I would be a knee-high boot wearing diva in no time, I assure you, that I would not. Those boots would not zip up when I was 110 pounds, which was me being at least 15 pounds UNDER weight.  It just doesn’t matter where my weight sits, my legs may look normal, but they harbor a sick vendetta against me. But, the upside is that they do support and carry me around, everywhere I want to go, no matter what scales tells me every morning.

2.  That the clothing industry is a well-oiled, corrupt, vacuous pit of darkness designed to extract money and inject sadness into women really gets my XL tunic in a twist. If they are able to extract enough money,  they inject a false sense of happiness into said previously mentioned women. Not enough money to extract? Well, you get to feel like shit about yourself and wear ill-fitting and unflattering clothes until you either come up with the money or lose weight. Ha! Gotcha. There needs to be standardized sizing across the board. At my current height and weight, there is no way that I should even glance at a size 10, but if I’m willing to spend enough money, there are designers out there who would have me believe that I am a size 10, rather than the 12,14,16, whatever size I actually am. And, please tell me – how can any woman be a size ZERO? Zero equals NOTHING. How can a living, breathing, walking around, shopping woman have a body the size of, well, nothing? I can wrap my head around a size one or two, but a zero? No, that’s just absurd and such blatant manipulation that it is beyond insulting to suggest that intelligent, grown, healthy women want to be or aspire to become a zero. Does men’s clothing come similarly sized? No. Of course, it does not. Why? Because the industry would not get away with suggesting that a man was a zero anything. Men would NOT tolerate being condescended to in such a manner, while, for whatever multitude of reasons, women are taught to not only tolerate it, but to seek it out. Fuckers.

This list is complete and utter bullshit. It's insulting, degrading and condescending.  Found on Pinterest.

This list is complete and utter bullshit. It’s insulting, degrading and condescending. I find it enraging, to be honest. Found on Pinterest.

3. That I reduce myself entirely and base the sum total of my worth as a woman, a person, a partner and a mother, in part, on the preceding two points. And even worse than that, I live in fear that I will somehow inadvertently burden my daughter with these ridiculous and senseless insecurities and self-esteem issues. Or that she will be so inundated by bullshit media images and messages that her self-confidence and self-esteem will diminish until her innate sparkle is lost. My daughter is not overweight (she’s five) but maybe one day she will be and should that happen, will I find her any less clever, smart, sweet or beautiful? Not a chance. But may others see her and treat her differently? Absolutely, they will. Because no matter how much jumping up and down people do about ‘fat shaming’ and ‘you do you’ and ‘ love your body’ the truth remains that our society still idealizes tiny waists, slim legs, big boobs and flawless skin. None of these attributes are synonymous with being fat, overweight or larger than a size six and there are no current buzzwords or hashtags that actually do anything to change the way people think, the way media portrays what is a desirable or worthwhile woman, or the way we’re raising our sons and daughters who internalize these messages and perpetuate exactly that which needs to change.

More bullshit. Why are these okay messages to put out there? And then people wonder why there are so many food-related mental health issues? Image found on Pinterest - I certainly don't want credit for it.

More bullshit. Why are these okay messages to put out there? And then people wonder why there are so many food-related mental health issues? Image found on Pinterest – I certainly don’t want credit for it.

Finally, just a few quick points to round this all out and make the final point of how broken the whole issue is. Over 1/3 of American adults are classified as obese. Some or many of the other 2/3 may be overweight or believe themselves to be. As a result of this obsession with weight and the fatness of people, last year in the US, consumers spent between 50 and 60 BILLION dollars on weight loss products and programs. In addition to this, they also spent more than 12 BILLION dollars on cosmetic procedures. The number one cosmetic procedure? Wait for it. LIPOSUCTION was the number one procedure for both women and men last year. And Liposuction procedures have increased 94% since 1997. In the US, 9.6 million women and 1 million men had at least one cosmetic procedure in 2014.

And people are still fat and getting fatter, despite spending between 62 and 72 BILLION dollars to get thin and fit. Factor in the fashion and beauty industries and it’s not hard to see that it is really NOT in the best interest of big business for consumers to actually ever attain these highly touted ideals of thinness and fitness, good health, or less fatness. Fat and insecure = revenue. BIG revenue. These industries are making it rain and they have all of the fat people to thank.

And, at the end of the day, I still can’t find boots that will fit over my calves, or reliably know my dress or pant size so that I can shop with any kind of confidence of an article of clothing fitting properly. And I still try to cover up as much of myself as possible, not only to hide from the sun but to hide what I’ve been conditioned to think of something shameful. My soft, fluffy center and jiggly bits. Hmmmm. That sounds a whole lot cuter when I use words like soft and fluffy, instead of squishy and fat, doesn’t it? As long as I’m healthy and able to keep up with my kids, I, for one, will contribute one more dollar to those many billions of dollars going into the diet industry’s pockets. No ma’am, they’re not getting anymore of my family’s money.

Better. Short, non-judgemental, non-preachy, leaves 'good' open to interpretation. Better. Again, found on Pinterest.

Better. Short, non-judgemental, non-preachy, leaves ‘good’ open to interpretation. Just better. Again, found on Pinterest.

Imma spend my money this weekend to buy myself a delicious baked panzerotti from Pizzaville (Sutton location, if you please), eat fresh home-made and locally grown food the rest of the time, and I’ll be just fine. Fluff and all.

Finally. A message acknowledging that fitness and fatness are not the only determiners of happiness or that their pursuit or race to abolish are the only worthwhile ways to spend our time. Happily found on Pinterest.

Finally. A message acknowledging that fitness and fatness are not the only determiners of happiness or that their pursuit or race to abolish are the only worthwhile ways to spend our time. Happily found on Pinterest.

P.S. Another ‘draft’ post dealt with. Yay, me! I may reform my procrastinating ways yet.

A surprisingly scrumptious and easy breakfast cookie recipe

Since I’ve had a few people request the recipe for the Breakfast Cookies that I baked for the teachers this past week I thought that it would be a good idea to post the recipe on the blog  and not flake out and just do a quicky Facebook post (this also ensures that if I lose my copy that I have another one to refer to!).

IMG_5965Breakfast Cookies (baking notes to follow at the end of the recipe)

Makes 36 cookies

Preheat oven 325°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Ingredients

1½ cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt (see end note)
¾ cups lightly packed brown sugar
½ cup softened butter
¼ cup canola or coconut oil (can use vegetable oil) (see end note)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup flax seeds
¼ cup chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2½ cups 9-grain cereal (see end note)
¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, blueberries, etc)

Directions

Combine the first four ingredients and set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, and oils until smooth. Beat in eggs, seeds and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture until combined. Stir in cereal, coconut and dried fruit.

Drop by tablespoon, 2 inches apart. Flatten with the back of a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until starting to brown. Allow to sit on cookie sheet to cool for 10 minutes then remove and finish cooling on the cooling rack.

Notes

* Omit salt if using salted butter.
* Can omit the ¼ cup of coconut or canola oil with little-to-no effect on the finished product.    Can also replace it with applesauce if desired.
*  9-grain cereal – I use 1¾ – 2 cups of oats and ¾-½ cup of wheat bran. Others making these cookies have used a granola cereal like Quaker Harvest Crunch, but be aware that this option increases caloric, sugar and fat content exponentially, and depending on the granola cereal you choose, may no longer be nut-free / school-safe (although it will taste divine!).
*  These freeze well, so bake them up, throw them in a ziplock and enjoy breakfast cookies for a week. Also, if I don’t freeze them, they won’t survive two days around here!)

IMG_5965