I started babysitting when I was 11 years old. My mom worked in day cares for years so I was around babies in those settings. I knew a good bit about taking care of children despite being the youngest of two by seven years. What I didn’t realize was that besides the usual physical and emotional challenges of raising kids that perfectionism would rule over all for me and be my deciding factor of how I parented for many years.
As a member of the School Health Team at my three youngest daughters’ school, I’ve spent the last year working on purchasing a kitchen cart with my co-team leaders. It’s a fantastic way to cook in classrooms while being portable and self contained. We have two gardens outside of each classroom. Part of this is because it’s a public Montessori school so gardening is usually tied in with the Montessori philosophy. In our state, we aren’t allowed to use the food grown in our gardens in the cafeteria but we are allowed to taste it. We have parents, grandparents, and teachers who’ve been cooking the garden harvests for years so we decided to make it easier for them with the mobile kitchen. We also wanted to ensure that students in the classes where the tastings haven’t been occurring would also get the chance to experience food from the school garden.
I’ll start this off by saying if you don’t have a year round market where you live this obviously doesn’t apply.
I showed up at our regional market this morning around 9:30. It was a beautiful 80 degrees. Quickly I remembered what a nightmare summer is there. Cars backed up down the street, then circling for 10 minutes to find a parking space. Once I got into the covered shed it was mayhem. People and strollers everywhere. I’ve been coming to this market for years. Out of the 52 weeks a year, between my husband and I we might miss 4 Saturdays a year. In December you can roll right up, grab a space, and walk anywhere without bumping into another person.
I spent this weekend wrapping up the last nine months of my life. Last September I began a journey that was exciting, nourishing, and challenging all at the same time. I became a Nutritional Therapy student because I wanted to expand upon my love of nutrition. What I didn’t expect was that I would get the job of my dreams in food policy just two weeks after starting school or that I would have intense life stuff to deal with throughout this entire process. But that’s how life works. This journey is at times a roller coaster, at other times it’s a white beach with soft waves and sunshine. Most of the time it’s in between the two.
One of the more challenging aspects of eating a Real Food/Paleo/Primal diet isn’t necessarily cutting out unhealthy foods. It’s actually trying to find places to eat with high quality ingredients. Add being on a budget or short on time and it can become downright impossible. Lately it seems restaurants are jumping on the health food wagon to meet consumers demand for higher quality meals. While this may seem like we’re moving in a positive direction, the reality is that we’re being greenwashed.
I have been cooking up a storm lately. I feel like I’m nesting. Before you even think it, no more primal babies for this household! We’re getting prepped to get a new kitchen over the next couple of weeks. I’m trying to stay ahead of the game for once and keep as much easy to heat up food in the fridge.
Fall is creeping in and it reminds me of banana bread and banana bread reminds me of my Mom. I loved her recipe growing up. In fact until I went gluten-free I often called her to ask for it so I could make it around this time of year. The hankering for some old fashioned bread has crept in. So what’s a girl to do? Make some the Paleo way!
While the amazing benefits of food fermentation have been around for thousands of years, it’s been in my house for a little over 3. When I was pregnant with my youngest daughter, my husband and I were at our midwife’s house for a prenatal visit. This is the woman that I’ve considered my nutritional guru for the last decade. She always has some interesting food up her sleeve. This time is was a mason jar of fermented vegetables. Always apprehensive to try new things, especially while pregnant, I politely declined a taste. My husband, the complete opposite of me (I blame it on the chef in him,) would have devoured the whole jar. As is the case with most things that intrigue him, he learns everything there is to know about it. It wasn’t long before he was eyeballing jars at IKEA that would be suitable for this new venture. He decided to go with something simple like cabbage. The girls and I still remember the putrid smell coming from that jar over the next few weeks. Much to my surprise the results were unbelievable. Not that I doubted him…just…you know.