Crockpot Chicken

It doesn’t get much easier than this peeps, or more delicious. Ten minutes and done!

This was Crockpots are pretty much my favourite thing ever at the moment.  I’m fairly certain I could throw anything in there and it would turn out delicious.  This chicken recipe is something I always used to make in the oven but the timing was always horrible.  It would cook quickly, so it was always done too early or late based on when I could get it in the oven.

With the crockpot I just throw everything in and pot the timer on high or low depending on when I need it and it always comes out perfectly!  And I mean perfectly.  I didn’t even bother getting out the big camera – these are all iphone pics because it smelled so good no one wanted to wait for mommy to take photos!

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Crockpot Chicken

  • 1 4.5 lb chicken
  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 4 ribs celery
  • 1 onion
  • 6 medium carrots
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Chop the onion, fennel, carrots, and celery and place in the bottom of a 6 quart crockpot. Crush the garlic cloves to get the skin off and toss in with the vegetables, and add the thyme.

Wash and dry the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and toss the lemon half inside.

Place chicken on top of the vegetables and toss the butter on top.

Put on the lid and cook on high for 5 hours. (A little shorter or longer depending on the size of your chicken.  Guesstimate!)

When ready, take the chicken out of the crockpot and pour the juices into a saucepan. Boil down the juices to make the most delicious gravy ever. There is no need to add anything at all – it will naturally thicken as the water evaporates. Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes until desired thickness is reached.

No pics of the gravy as my kids were already pulling chicken off the platter and stuffing it into their mouths by this point!

ENJOY!

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I even placed a bit of everything in the blender with a bit of water to make crockpot chicken baby food purée which was AMAZING. I seriously considered tossing the whole enchilada into the blender to make soup out of it! Arlo also enjoyed gumming all of the delicious tender veggies. Yummy!

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Enchilada Quinoa Bowls

We LOVE Mexican food, so when I came across the idea to use Quinoa in a Mexican dish, it became an obsession.  I am happy to present you the finished product!  It looks a little overwhelming but once you read through the directions you will realize just how simple I have condensed the steps.

When indulging in cheese we try to opt for goat’s milk cheeses because they are more easily digested by our bodies than cow’s milk products.  As for the sour cream, it didn’t make much sense to make a dairy free version out of cashews if I was already adding cheese…so cow’s milk sour cream it was.

This recipe has a bit of heat so I carefully concocted a separate recipe alongside this to feed to my kids, who then proceeded to steal my spicy dinner instead…

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Enchilada Sauce

  • 1 tbsp butter or coconut oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (28oz)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Fry the onion in butter or coconut oil over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer.  Transfer to a blender and add the rest of the ingredients.  Blend until smooth.  Set aside.

Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tbsp butter or coconut oil
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, choppped
  • 2 ears of corn, kernels removed (or 1 cup frozen corn)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 cup goat cheddar
  • 1 cup goat mozzarella

Place quinoa in a saucepan along with 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.  Once the liquid is almost gone, turn off the heat and cover.

Meanwhile, fry the onion in butter or coconut oil over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cook 7-10 minutes or until desired.

Remove from heat, and mix in quinoa along with 2 cups of enchilada sauce.

Place in an oven safe dish and top with cheddar and mozzarella.

Cook at 350 for 10 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Serve topped with extra enchilada sauce and/or cumin sour cream.

Cumin sour cream

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Place ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

 

Carrot Orange Lemonade

We had a surplus of carrots, oranges, and lemons in the kitchen, so logically this juice was the next step.

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Carrot Orange Lemonade

3 lbs carrots
4 oranges, peeled
2 lemons, peeled
2 inch piece of ginger

Juice ingredients and serve over ice. Yum!

Oscar Update

I am completely in love with being a mom.  I may even entertain the idea of having more kids – as long as I don’t have to give birth to them!  Many people have told me that I will forget the pain over time, though I remain somewhat jaded about childbirth after 3 months.  I still get tears in my eyes whenever I think about that day, and my back is still in rough shape from the intense back labour pains.  This is one case in which muscle memory is a bitch and not a bonus.  And then there’s that perineal tear that is still tender after 12 weeks.  I would now like to retract what I previously said about having more kids… Haha.

After talking with other women about the joys of giving birth last night, I have come to the decision that I am 100% caving and getting the epidural next time.  I am a HUGE supporter and promoter of natural childbirth, and you can read my birth story to understand just how important it is to me, but my decision was made for me when I heard of a woman whose second natural birth hurt worse than the first time.  Sign me up now please.  And that is the end of that.

Oscar had a few good weeks but he’s back to not sleeping again.  I was getting a 4 hour stretch every night at one point, but the last week he has gotten his gas pains back and goes anywhere from 1 to 2.5 hours at most.  I am so jealous when I hear about other babies the same age sleeping through the night!  Maybe soon?

Oscar is in that repetition stage now.  He loves when you talk to him one on one.  He tries so hard to make the sounds we say.  His favourite sound to make is “oooo”.  I’m sure this doesn’t come as a shock.  He’s a baby and babies say “oooo” all the time.  It’s his delivery of “oooo” that gets me.  He uses every fiber in his entire body to say it back to me.  It takes him so much effort.  It’s soooooo cute!

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Tired after a morning of learning

The Period of Purple Crying

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Aww poor baby!

I am so done trying to figure out what makes Oscar cry.  He can be changed, fed, burped, napped, have farted stronger and harder than any grown man I have ever known, and have had a monster baby poop – yet he cries. We’ve tried gripe water, Ovol, probiotics, reflux medication, and fixing the latch 500 different ways.  Sometimes he cries during the day, sometimes he cries in the evening, while other times he cries all night long.

Though today Oscar really hasn’t cried at all.  Yes, today has been absolutely, hands down, utterly and completely the best day ever of my life as a mother to a 5 week old.  I’m not counting my chickens, however.  You cannot predict a single moment of infant behaviour based on past infant behaviour patterns.  That would be far too logical.  Surely, if a baby is crying he must be in pain, right?  I HAVE NO BLOODY IDEA.  So I will just be grateful for every quiet second we have together, and just try to make him as comfortable as possible when he feels the need to cry.

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Daddy and Oscar cry together!

Colic implies there is something wrong with the baby.  It sounds like a disease and that something needs fixing.  I’m not a fan of the word COLIC.

To save my sanity I have chosen to believe in The Period of Purple Crying.  Sometimes babies cry.  Some cry more than others, but they all cry and not all of it makes any sense to us deducing grown-ups.

Peak of crying: they may cry more each week, peak at 2 months, and get better by 3-4 months. Yay.
Unexpected – I’ll say.
Resists soothing – Ditto the previous sarcastic remark.
Pain-like face – Breaks my heart.
Long lasting: 5 hours a day or more. Sweet.
Evening – more like “Every second if he’s up for the challenge.”

I can say that I feel extremely relieved since finding this website and I no longer panic every time I can’t figure out what is wrong.

You can read more about it at the Purple Crying website.

Other than PURPLE, sometimes Oscar has horrible gas.  When he pulls up his legs and tries to poo and fart, he’s got gas.  Every other time, my best guess is that he has growing pains.  I remember distinctly Christmas when I was 5.  I had such bad growing pains that I was completely miserable. I don’t remember what I got for Christmas, but I remember how painful my legs were!

I can only imagine how an infant would react to growing pains since it is a time in life when they are doubling their birth weight in a few short months.  They would probably CRY!  All we can do is love them through it and try not to throw them or ourselves out of the nearest window.  JUST KIDDING!  But seriously…no.  No throwing babies.  Ever.  Don’t even get cross with them.  You’ve just got to snuggle them through it.

Green Juice Feast Day

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Well I certainly didn’t plan on a juice feasting day, but that is what seems to be what’s happened.  It’s time to kick this fight against my sinus infection into high gear anyway.  Bring on the greens!

This morning, Yuri made over 2 L of green juice to take to U of T Soccer Training Camp.  However, the green juice didn’t make it to training camp.  I ended up drinking at least 1 L and it was so good that I just made another Liter!  It is just amazing how much nutrition you can pack into your day when you include green juices.

To top off my efforts to kill this sinus infection, I finally bought some apple cider vinegar (organic, unpasteurized, with the Mother).  If you’ve got sinus issues, get some apple cider vinegar and add 2 TBSP  to a glass of water, several times a day. You will instantly enjoy some nasal draining!  I am contemplating adding some ACV to water and throwing the mixture into my Neti pot, but I’m still working up some bravery to run vinegar through my nose!  I made the mistake of trying hydrogen peroxide in the neti pot…DON”T DO THAT IT BURNS and apparently can do some damage!  Rookie move on my part.

Today alone, I have personally consumed the juice of:

1 bunch of dill

1 bunch of parsley

1 1/2 apples

5 carrots

1 1/2 bunches of swiss chard

2 heads of celery

1 lemon

2 inches of ginger root

1/2 a cucumber

Shocking, isn’t it?  I bet I have eaten more vegetables today than most North Americans get in a week or even a month!  I am officially back on the green juice train.  This baby is going to come out green!

Here is the recipe for my new favourite juice.  Let’s call it the…

Dill-Inspired Green Juice

1 bunch dill

3 carrots

1 apple

1 bunch swiss chard

1 head of celery

2 inches of ginger root

Juice all ingredients and enjoy approx. 1L of amazing green goodness!

A Pregnant Woman’s Natural Cold Cure. It’s Your Cure too!

I am sick.  Not with morning sickness, but with a cold. The kind that sits in your throat, your nose, your head, and your ears.  The mucus is so thick and disgusting that I can barely breathe. And I can’t taste anything at all.

One of the toughest things about being pregnant is being sick.  Your immune system is slightly relaxed due to your little  angel of a parasite and little things can get you down.  In my case, I think I ate one too many toasted tomato sandwiches.  I’m sensitive to wheat, but I gave into the cravings anyway and now my body is rebelling.  Fear not body, I will be nice to you from here on in. Most of the time, anyway :).

Many people believe that whole grain bread is healthy, and while it’s better than white bread, if you’ve got a wheat sensitivity, it’s all the same.  It’s a heavily processed food, so it’s not something you should be eating every day like most North Americans do.  Toast or cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and pizza or pasta with garlic bread for dinner ring a bell?  And it’s not just wheat that can make you sick.  If you eat too many processed foods and not enough fresh foods, you will tip the balance in favour of sickness.  Sickness is your body’s way of saying “HEY!  Give me some respect please or I’ll MAKE you!”

Now, that being said, what do you do when you get hit with a freight-train-type cold? Here is my personal, natural cold remedy.  It is good for pregnant, and non-bun-in-the-ovens alike.  This is something that everyone should do when they come down with a cold.  You don’t need to run to your pharmacy and load your self up with unnecessary drugs.

The Plan:

1. Drink plenty of water. Water helps flush out your body, and keeping it well hydrated will allow your body to get things done.  Add a bit of lemon to help flush your liver.

2. Lay off the wheat and the dairy and other processed foods. Get rid of them completely if you can at least until you feel better.  Wheat and dairy are the most common allergens and since you’re body’s immune system is already compromised, consuming these foods only hinder it further.  These foods are acidic and therefore not health promoting in the slightest.  That being said, lay off the beer too!  If you are concerned about calcium, go get yourself some kale, broccoli, and swiss chard.  Some of the world’s biggest animals are solely leaf eaters.  There’s a reason they don’t drink milk.

3. Increase your anti-oxidants. Eat plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables in their raw state.  These foods hold the building blocks that will help you overcome any sickness and build a healthy body.

4. Exercise. I know it’s hard to exercise when you feel awful, and walking from the couch to get the remote knocks the wind out of you, but you’ve got to move.  The best exercise tool I know of for this situation is the rebounder.  Lightly jog on the spot on a rebounder to get the lymphatic system moving.  Put on your favourite music and dance while jogging.  15 minutes a day is a fantastic place to be.  Have three 5-minute sessions if it’s what you need.

5. Use a neti-pot. This delightful contraption can be used in conjunction with sea salt (less than 1/4 tsp) and warm water.  You tip the water into one nostril, and tilt your head so that the water runs out the other nostril.  Daily use of a neti-pot when you are in good health will keep your body’s first line of defense (your nasal passages) free and ready to defend your body!

6. Drink ginger tea. The easiest and best way to make ginger tea is by cutting up an inch cube of ginger into small pieces, and letting it steep in a french-press (traditionally used for steeping coffee).  Ginger is not only effective in relieving morning sickness, but it has many positive effects on the digestive system.  It is useful in the treatment of colds and flu because it is an anti-inflammatory and a natural pain killer.

For those of you who are NOT pregnant, I will add taking a few drops of oil of oregano each day and eating a clove of chopped up raw garlic each day to your regime.  These are potent disease killers, but are not recommended during pregnancy.

Well, it has been 24 hours since I started taking my own advice. I can breathe, my headache is gone, my ears have very minor to no pressure in them, and my throat is clear of mucus and doesn’t hurt anymore.  I can taste my food better and by tomorrow or tonight even, I should be tasting 100% of my food.  I used the neti-pot twice yesterday and had about a liter of ginger tea.  I used the neti-pot again this morning and rebounded for 15 minutes.  So far I have eaten a banana, an apple, 2 cups of spinach, 2 large tomatoes, and plenty of water with a bit of lemon today.  Things are looking up.  As soon as reinforcements arrive, I’ll be making a green smoothie with apples, banana, greens, ginger, lemon, and water.  Yummy!

The Greatest Health Tragedy: “I feel fine.”

Today I have been thinking a lot about health, and I have come to the realization that there is nothing more detrimental to our health than feeling pretty good.  My diet is pretty good, but it can could certainly be better.  I feel good, but I could feel betterThe problem with having no major health concerns is that you can get away with eating processed foods because you feel fine. Sooner or later, your diet will catch up with you.

I was raised eating crap.  It’s not my parent’s fault.  I’m not blaming them. I’m not blaming anyone.  They didn’t know any different.  Blame never solved anything and it never will.  If you blame anyone for anything, do yourself a favour and just let it go. Your parents may have been responsible for you once upon a time, but at some point the torch gets passed.  The responsibility and the blame become yours.  You and I are 100% responsible for our health.

Why do we not value our health as we should? Why is it that we’ll only pay attention to what we put in our mouths when we’re ill?  Assuming we are fortunate enough to realize that what we put in our mouths affects our health.  Some people go through chemo while eating a highly processed diet (hell, they serve Jell-o in hospitals!  WTF?) and end up in the grave without ever being told that what they eat matters.  It matters a whole lot.  You are what you eat.  Everyone has heard the saying but they don’t know it. You are what you eat.  Read it, absorb it, know it, and abide by it damn it.

It’s really hard to get around food marketing and the impact it has on us.  Companies spend billions of dollars finding out how to get us to buy their crappy dead foods.  The food industry is hunting us.  If food conglomerates were vampires, we’d be the weak humans who get glamored and eaten alive. But what good is a car, a house, a closet full of clothes, or a family when we’re gone? Fight the food corporations. Eat your fruit and veggies.

The more I think about it, the less I want to feel pretty good and the more I want to feel amazing.  So although I am feeling pretty good having the occasional coffee and treat added to my otherwise healthy diet, I want to perform these behaviours less and less because I want my excellent health to continue as I age.  I don’t want to hit a wall – ever.

As the year ends and I make my resolution for the next, I’ve decided to take even more responsibility for my health. I’m not going to wait for the new year.  I’ve already started.  I started to improve my health 3 years ago, so why stop where I am?  There is always room for improvement.  It’s very simple.  Improve your health one decision at a time. My latest healthy decision occurred just a few days ago when I bought tons of loose-leaf organic tea.  No more coffee in the house.

What’s your next healthy decision going to be?

Boosting my Immune System

I’m not getting a flu shot. There is no way anyone is sticking me with a needle and injecting who-knows-what into my system.  Instead I choose to focus on eating well and cleanse my body so it can better handle any antagonist it faces.  Knock on wood, but I haven’t been sick in a few years except for a few brushes with food and alcohol poisoning.  Hint: a hangover = alcohol poisoning.  I rarely drink alcohol these days.

I’ve started using Chinese medicine to cleanse my liver. I’ve been using the product for about a week now, and I have already noticed improvements in my skin.  My hands have been rough and dry for as long as I can remember, and they are starting to heal and finally have some moisture in them.  If this rate of healing keeps up, in another week or so I should have soft hands!

Skin is a mirror of organ health. If you have unhealthy skin, your internal organs are in need of a little love and care.  Eating fresh organic fruits and vegetables are great for the liver, but you’ve also got to eliminate all the substances that make the liver sluggish like alcohol, cooked fats, coffee, and refined foods.  Foods that keep your liver healthy are foods that keep your entire body healthy.

Back when I was in high school, I was aware that my skin had a yellow tint to it.  I didn’t know then, but yellowing of the skin is a sure sign that the liver is in trouble.  My skin is now a very healthy colour and I know that my liver is doing much, much better.  It may have something to do with the fact that I drank copious amounts of Diet Coke back then.  Now I drink more water than anything else, and Diet Drinks never pass my lips.  I’ve still got some bad habits that I need to work on, but learning the truth about aspartame made me quit consuming it that second. I like my nerves, my eyes, and my brain a whole lot.  I never mess with aspartame any more and I know my liver is very happy about that!

Running in the Rain.

This morning I went for a 50 minute run with my boyfriend in the rain. When the going got tough I wanted to stop.  I was getting bored and mentally I wasn’t in the game anymore.  Then I realized that this time last year I ran a half marathon without training (don’t EVER do that by the way) and I was able to push myself for the last 10 minutes.  Mind games can make us or break us.  Don’t let your mind chatter get the best of you.  Step out of your comfort zone and show that mind chatter who’s boss!

This is why I love yoga so much.  All I do for the entire class is focus on my breath. I breathe as deeply as possible for an hour and all my muscles have to do is follow the voice of my instructor.  Rarely do I ever start to question the work being done and rarely do I think about quitting.  I find if I just breathe the rest takes care of itself. However, if I start thinking too much and lose the breath I get into trouble.  I think about quitting.  I think about how difficult the pose is, and I think about laying on the floor in Savasana – corpse pose.  There is nothing better than Savasana!

So today when I ran and my mind chatter took over, I returned to my breath and kept on running. Deep breath in and slow breath out.  Over and over. It’s amazing what the mind can do when you push it.  If I had been un the middle of another half marathon I would have finished it, no problem.  But when you aren’t running with thousands of other people, it’s hard to stay motivated.  But each one of you has the ability to keep on strong.  Keep with your breath, keep calm, and carry on.